Quality School Age Child Care
Finding safe, fun, and affordable care before and after school can be a real challenge for parents. School districts, parks and recreation programs or community centers may offer care. For whats available in the Metro Kansas City Area, call the Child Care Source at 913-573-2273. They should be able to tell you whats available in your area.
Two key things to evaluating school age child care are the environment and the program.
Choose a program that is housed in a safe structure and make sure its licensed by the county or the state. Find out if there are clear and consistent ground rules and limits. The staff should know where kids are at all times. Check to see that they have procedures for emergencies. A good environment should provide a chance for some privacy, and quiet for activities such as reading or homework. Look at the space for physical activities such as sports and games. Look for opportunities for creative art and construction projects.
Pay attention to the staff social interactions with the children. When a confilct happens, are the children encouraged to talk it out? If kids have problems how are they supported by the staff? Does the staff encourage the children and make them feel welcome into the program.
Its a good idea to find out how children who currently use the program feel about it. If you know parents who use a particular program ask for their comments.
School age programs need to have flexibility. Are kids able to select their own activities most of the time?
Does the staff have an understanding of child development so that the curriculum meets the needs of the children based on their age and stage of development? Ask about staff training and if the facility is licensed.
Remember to check with Child Care Source to find out what is available in your neighborhood or community.