Is your child making the transition from daycare to elementary school? If so, you may have been spoiled with the flexibility that daycare provided when dropping off and picking up your kid. While you use to have a wide window where they were under the care of the daycare provider, the school day for elementary school is much shorter.
It's common for some schools to end their day between 2pm and 3pm, leaving you with a potentially large gap until 6pm where you have nobody to watch your child. That's why you'll want to look into an after school child care program so that they can fill in those gaps until you are done with work. Here are some things to consider when selecting a program.
How Your Child Gets There
The logistics of using after school care may be the biggest concern for you. That's why you want to understand how it works so that there are no surprises. Many local programs do work with the schools, with them often having the programs on site at the school itself or busing the kids to a new location. Either way, it will be important that it is easy for your child to get to the program to minimize downtown. Even if they are being bused, having it be close and convenient will help ensure that your child is spending more time playing than sitting around.
How Many Adults Supervise The Program
You may find that the kid-to-staff ratio in an after school program is quite different than that in their kindergarten classroom, with the ratio being much higher. It is worth looking at how many adults help run the program and are working directly with the kids. A lower ratio is going to help with things such as structured activities, where some one-on-one support will help your child.
How They Continue Your Child's Education
After school care shouldn't be like the wild west with free play time. Look at what kind of activities they offer, and how they continue your child's education while they are outside of the classroom. They should have plenty of opportunities for crafts, games, story time, and play to keep your kid busy and never be bored.
Looking into an after school care program early will give you the best chance of finding one you like. Start now so that you don't feel like you have run out of options in the fall when school begins.