Is your child's school experience affected by the quality of child care he or she receives before school begins and after school ends? We think so.
There is nothing overly scientific about this piece, but I'm passionate about my philosophies and TSL has always believed that child care experiences in the before and after school setting can positively or negatively impact a child's full day experience. Makes sense, right? A child who engages in healthy play with stimulating and well trained adults between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. will walk through the school doors feeling good and ready to tackle the rigors of academia. While the child who is not engaged or is supervised by someone with lesser vested adults in the same time span, at the very least, may not benefit at all from his early morning experience such that it prepares him for the 6 hours ahead. And what about after school. An additional three hours of a child's life...doing what? Do parents and school professionals even know?
Many children are spending as much time in child care programs before and after school as they are in regular school, yet many school districts and even families aren't taking the time to scrutinize the programs that are serving their children. When a school district needs a new roof what do they do? They begin a long process to evaluate multiple companies, accept bids, review bids and finally settle on the most viable company to complete the job based on their reputation, their cost and their efficiency.
Now, what happens in most school districts when signs begin to emerge that a new child care service may be needed? In most cases....nothing. Familiar programs become entrenched after years of service and operate under little scrutiny because, quite frankly, not enough people care about what is happening in these programs or believe themselves to not have enough time to be concerned. In many cases complacency is the common attitude. "The service provider had been here for years," "It's just after school" "we don't have anything to do with that, they just pay us rent".
Quality of child care is important. Programming, delivery, and how it is integrated into the wider school community are all important factors that hint of what benefits await the child who attends a school program whose philosophies embrace the full day from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. as part of the child's growth and development. As it were, the majority of school districts look at the 8-2 period as their only concern. In my mind, that only provides children with quality experiences (or one should hope) for only half their day.
Their lie a day ahead perhaps, when RFP's invite agencies every couple of years to compete to offer quality child care programs in all school districts to give fair opportunity for all organizations to compete. Staging this competition is key to getting the best programs in place for your children. The same way they get the best new roof on the school when it is needed. Aren't children as important as a new roof?
TSL Team Contributions
This blog is for parents and educators to learn more about our organization. It's also the space where we share information of interest to parents.