At Toddler Town, we know how important child care is for many families. In the United States, where both parents are usually working in order to support their family, child care can be viewed as a necessity, but can also very expensive.
An option for families, that is generally less expensive, is before and after-school care. As there are many programs available, it is important to do careful research before enrolling your child.
Here are some considerations when deciding to choose a program.
What are the benefits of before and after-school child care?
First, let’s take a look at what’s included in most before and after-school programs. Most programs offer homework assistance, arts and crafts, recreation time, snacks, and sometimes transportation. This type of child care can help working parents by providing a safe place for their children to be while they’re at work.
Before and after-school care can also help children maintain a routine, which is important for their development. Children who participate in structured activities outside of school tend to have better grades and behavior inside of school. And finally, before and after-care can give kids the opportunity to socialize with other children their age.
What are the different types of before and after-school child care?
Before and after-school child care come in a variety of forms. Some are operated by schools, others are run by child care centers, and still others are youth center based. The type of care your child receives will likely depend on his or her age and the availability of programs in your area. Here is a look at the different types of before and after-school child care:
School-based care is offered through schools themselves and can include academic enrichment activities, as well as child care. This type of care is usually available for elementary school-aged children, but some middle and high schools offer it too.
Child care centers offer before and after-school programs as well as full-day child care. They may be affiliated with a school or operate independently. A few states offer after-school care through the public school system, for children of all ages.
In some areas, after-school activities are provided by a “youth center”. A youth center may be run by the local school district or a non-profit organization. An after-school program at a community center is usually provided by a nonprofit organization.
Before enrolling your child in after-school care, be as proactive as possible and ask the following questions:
1. What are the hours of operation?
2. Is transportation provided?
3. Is there a minimum number of days or hours required?
4. What is the cost?
5. Are meals and snacks provided?
6. Are any special activities offered?
7. What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
8. Is background screening conducted on all staff members?
9. Are references checked for all staff members?
In conclusion, there are many practical solutions to the problem of before and after-school child care. Parents need to research their options and find the solution that works best for their family. There is no one perfect solution, but there are many great options available.
If you want to learn more about how we can fill some of your family’s before and after-school child care needs, please contact us at Toddler Town! We would love to discuss more and find out how to we can meet your family’s needs.