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Paynesville Press - September 6, 2006

After-school childcare program -
Bulldog Kid's Club - starts this week

By Addi Larson

On the first day of school, Bulldogs Kid's Club - a school-age childcare program - began providing after-school childcare for students in grades K-5.

The new program, run through Community Education, operates Mondays through Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. in Room 166 at Paynesville Area Elementary School.

Currently, 24 students are enrolled in the program, according to Community Education director Matt Dickhausen. For reasons such as alternative childcare, student numbers will vary each day, said Dickhausen.

Openings are still available, and information was given to parents at the open house last week. Parents and guardians can call 320-291-1147 or register online at Enrollment registration forms are also available at the Paynesville Area Community Education office at 801 Highway 23 (previously the middle school office). Parents and guardians may also stop by the fitness center at PAHS, which is open until 9 p.m., to get a registration form.

The cost per child is $4 each day. Also, a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $25 will be due with each separate enrollment form.

In cases where students miss the bus, encounter last-minute schedule changes, or in emergencies, Bulldog Kid's Club will provide care until parents or guardians are notified of students' whereabouts. There will be a fee for this service.

The purpose of the Bulldog Kid's Club is to provide a safe, positive, and home-like environment for students in grades K-5. The program will follow a mildly structured schedule allowing students to participate in numerous activities and to develop positive friendships and positive social skills.

The staff-to-student ratio is approximately one staff member for every 15 children grades K-5. The program, run by Karen Tyson, includes check-in and snack time; outside or gym time; project time (i.e. art, cooking, science); free play; and homework help.

The program is set to run all year. It will be closed on days when school is closed due to weather and will be closed in the event of an emergency closing of the school during the day.

On non-school days, Bulldog Kid's Club will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. On scheduled early-release days, students can attend at the end of the school day. In the summer, approximately 10 weeks of full-day childcare will be provided.

Only those authorized - 16 years of age or older - may pick up children from the program and might be asked to show identification. Children will not be released to an unauthorized person.

Areas for use will be the elementary playground, Room 166 of the elementary school, and the gym. Also, field trips on non-school days are being scheduled, and parents and guardians will be notified in advance.

Parents and guardians of enrolled students will receive a calendar to write the dates and times their children will attend Bulldog Kid's Club. The calendar is returned to program leaders.

Parents and guardians may call as late as 48 hours in advance to report any schedule changes.

Student participation may not take place without prior registration.

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