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Paynesville Press - May 19, 2004

Community Education plans school-aged childcare program

By Kayla Welle

Community Education is proposing a school-aged childcare service intended to start at the beginning of the 2004-05 school year.

Provided enough interest exists, the program would offer supervision before and after school to K-5 students at Paynesville Area Elementary School.

The idea was suggested to director Matt Dickhausen at a Community Education Advisory Council meeting. Dickhausen found that most of the schools around the area have a program similar to it.

"There is a growing need for school-aged childcare," said Dickhausen. Children with two- working parents or single-parent families often need care before or after school, according to Dickhausen.

An interest survey was given to elementary school families last fall at conferences. "There seemed to be a pretty good amount of people who liked the idea," reported Dickhausen. If enough people are interested, the program will start in the fall.

The "Bulldog Kid's Club" will be available to kids in kindergarten through the fifth grade. They plan to have a variety of activities to develop "positive friendships and social skills" for all of these ages, according the Dickhausen. Such activities include outdoor games, arts and crafts, story-time, field trips,and quiet time.

The program will be run in the elementary school on days that school is in session and on quarter-break and school-related break days. In the morning, the service will be available from 6 to 8 a.m. and after school from 3 to 6 p.m.

The proposed rate for the childcare averages out to be about $2.50 per hour. The program offers options for before school supervision only, after school supervision only, or both. While the program will be available five days per week, packages give the option of three, four, or five days per week.

Plans are not final yet, and supervisors have not been hired; however, supervision will not be done by teachers.

Since the program will have a limited number of spaces, Community Education needs to find out about how many people are interested before they can make any solid plans.

The program is available for sign up in Community Education's summer brochure. Call Dickhausen with any questions at 320-243-7570.

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