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How do you find after-school care??

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am getting puzzled! Our neighborhood has tons of two-career families, so I figured there would be several after-school programs around but we'd better start looking now in case there are waiting lists. (EnviroKid will be in K in public school next year. Right now he's at preschool during all my working hours, but his school does not take older kids.) Well, this is all I can find:

*the Jewish Community Center has a program that sounds pretty good aside from (a) requiring us to join the JCC, which is very expensive plus the cost of the program, and (b) having a weekly religious service--we are not Jewish.

*other schools in the area have after-school programs that are for their students only, but the school he will attend does not have one.

*several child-care centers have afternoon care for older kids but do not provide transportation from his school. He won't be old enough to walk by himself for a couple of years.

So...what do we do to find someplace he can go after school? I am thinking about asking around trying to meet someone who would take him home (their home or ours) but I'm not sure how to approach the idea with people who aren't advertising their services.

We really don't want to stagger schedules because we have so little family time as it is.

Advice, please?
post #2 of 16
In my area, the YMCA has a great after school program and transportation is provided. Short of that, I would call centers on the bus route to see if they have available openings next year.

Also, consider putting an ad on craiglist under childcare and mention the school name and ask if anyone already picks up at that school. I have a home daycare and I know many providers who are able to do that.

GL!
post #3 of 16
We have a Y program right in our school and it's fantastic. Even open on days when school is closed and covers all of the half-days. I will say that my daughter attended a Jewish preschool/daycare that we were very, very happy with. We are not Jewish and do attend a liberal Christian church. There was nothing in the Jewish services that would have contradicted anything we taught.

Have you called the school for any advice?
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post

So...what do we do to find someplace he can go after school? I am thinking about asking around trying to meet someone who would take him home (their home or ours) but I'm not sure how to approach the idea with people who aren't advertising their services.

Advice, please?
Call the PTA president of his school. (The office can give you her contact info.) Ask her for the names of a few SAHMs (she trusts) who live close to the school and would like to make a little money.
post #5 of 16
We are fortunate to have a good quality before/after care at school. But I'd say ask around your neighborhood, ask parents with older kids -- even if they don't use after school care, they likely know who provides it. And asking the school is a great idea -- I'd ask the kindy teacher what other families have done in past years. Good luck!
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Call the PTA president of his school. (The office can give you her contact info.) Ask her for the names of a few SAHMs (she trusts) who live close to the school and would like to make a little money.
This...I'm treasurer for our school council and I'm at the school 3-4 times a week, so the teachers/administration know me...when I was doing after school care, that's how I got all of my referrals. For that matter, you can just ask the school's secretary and she might be able to tell you where other kids go after school. They've got to be going somewhere, I'm sure you're not the only parent who needs after school care for your kids .
post #7 of 16
Our school also has an excellent Y program on site.

Unfortunately, when I went to register in the Spring, I found out I was 16 on a very long waitlist. I sent out emails to our neighboorhood mailing list for suggestions and found there were very few options. Luckily, another mom read my email, found she was on the waiting list, and then spearheaded an effort to get another classroom added to the program.

I was so relieved that she was successful and spots opened up the week before school started. Phew!

Our backup was to be us picking up my son everyday at 12 noon and transporting him to his previous home daycare. That home daycare did do pickup, but not for our school due to distance.

Our neighborhood just has very few options, such as home daycares that do pickup.

Good luck! It is very frustrating.
post #8 of 16
In our area, if your automatically assigned public school doesn't offer after school care and you need it, thats a pretty much guaranteed reason for a school transfer to be approved (to a school with an extended care program). We are at private school with no option, so we used an afterschool nanny (right now I'm 3/4 time so don't have the need). This allowed the kids to do their after school activities and gave us the flexibility we needed. It might not be any more expensive than some of your other options.

I do see ads on Craig's list the mention specific schools and a need for after school care.
post #9 of 16
I have a great mom who brings her 3 year old to watches our son. Picks him after school, takes him to his after school activities, play dates, helps with homework and folds the laundry to boot. We found her via an online nanny/babysitter service.

Also- While I agree with talking to the school/PTA, no matter who refers you ALWAYS do reference checks, get and CALL the references and go thru all the steps you would if you were hiring a nanny. Just because someone is a great and active volunteer at school/PTA member doesn’t mean she has the same values as you.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas! I'd be happy to hear more...

I remembered that before he was born, I found an office at the YWCA that gives referrals to home childcare, so I called there and got the number of exactly one person who does after-school care and lives in the same block as the school. I called her today and made an appointment to visit. She said she would be able to bring the other kids over to the school to pick up EnviroKid, and since it's such a short walk without crossing any streets I bet he could walk by himself after a while. So that may work out...

The YMCA here has after-school programs, both in some of the other schools and in their own buildings, but none of the Y locations is anywhere near us, and the closest one is in a neighborhood I wouldn't want to visit after dark.

I like the idea of calling the school and seeking referrals from them and/or the PTA. If this person we're visiting isn't 100% perfect, I'll give that a try.
post #11 of 16
At my dh's old school district (he's a teacher). Kids could get bussed to a school with after school care if the school they attended didn't have it. Have you spoken with someone at the school or district to find out what they can provide?
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post

*the Jewish Community Center has a program that sounds pretty good aside from (a) requiring us to join the JCC, which is very expensive plus the cost of the program, and (b) having a weekly religious service--we are not Jewish.
I am not a member of the JCC, but my Mom and her family grew up in Squirrel Hill and they were involved in that scene, but not Jewish. It was, from everything I've heard from my relatives, a great place and good experience. My cousin was a member growing up in the 90's. She is an atheist and very much enjoyed it there.

My family is not a member currently because of the cost, and our non-proximity. If the cost isn't a big deal, I'd definitely consider it.
post #13 of 16
In our district, the kids are bussed to and from after-care in one central building. Our charter school does a "kids club" that extends hours somewhat, but not until 6. I think it's to 4:30 or 5? Other than that, we have very limited options most dual-income families I know either use the school program or have a SAHM friend in the neighborhood who will meet their child off the bus for that gap time (4:30 to 5:30 for most people). There are a few licensed child care centers in the area (2) that you can have your kids bussed to, you can elect to change your child's bus route but they most go to the same place every day. I wouldn't use any of our three options, so we've used a combination of flex time, Grandparents and Aunts to make do. It's less than ideal, for sure... good luck!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
The home childcare we visited is very warm and pleasant and a more formal operation than I expected. EnviroKid was in a different home childcare as a baby that was just one lady caring for a few kids in her home. This place is a licensed center with 4 adults (including one man--EnviroKid was very pleased to see this proof that men can be teachers, as that's one of his current career aspirations ) and up to 12 kids, although they said they never have that many in the late afternoon. What's "home" about it is that it's the basement of a house in a residential neighborhood; the center director owns the house and rents the upstairs to college students. It's a really nicely finished basement with a big kitchen and backyard playground. They have plenty of toys, books, and craft supplies, and they said they do some cooking projects. The kids are mostly babies and toddlers, some preschoolers, no other after-schoolers at this point...but of course EnviroKid will be just out of preschool himself, and he is accustomed to being around babies and toddlers at the end of the day in his current school.

We had been imagining that he'd go to an after-school program with school-aged kids, i.e. mostly older than him when he's in kindergarten. Now I'm thinking it may be an easier transition for him if, after a day in the new bigger school with kids up to 8th grade, he goes to a place more like what he's used to where he's the biggest kid and there's a lot of nurturing and free play. I plan to talk more with him about this, as well as calling the references and such, before deciding. The location is perfect for us, both in proximity to the school and in proximity to our home.

One sticking point is that they have a flat rate of $10/hour, which means we'd pay $100 for 10 hours/week, which seems absurd since we're now paying $180 for 40 hours/week! But EnviroDaddy points out that SCHOOL will be FREE, and our kid will be cared for the same number of hours, "so think of it as saving $80 a week!" Good point. What do you all think?

It's interesting that other school districts bus kids to schools with after-school programs. I haven't seen/heard anything about that here, but I'll look further. There's a public school with after-school program only a little farther from our house than the school EnviroKid will attend, so I left a phone message there asking if it's only for kids from that school, but they didn't get back to me....

Plunky, we don't have a lot of time to use the other benefits of JCC membership like swimming, and we're really not keen on our kid attending a religious service when we're not there. We also don't like the idea of our money going toward the JCC's Israel-supporting activities; we think both the Israelis and the Palestinians have good points and don't want to support one side against the other.
post #15 of 16
Subbing in case I need this for next year.
post #16 of 16
Crunchy moms could also look in the Finding Your Tribe area here, or La Leche League meetings, or on local homeschool lists.
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