Before-school care program aims to fill morning gap for parents

By Steve Smith - Staff Reporter
VERNON - posted Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
Lexi, 6, and Ashley, 8, take part in both the before- and after-school programs. Photo by Steve Smith.
Lexi, 6, and Ashley, 8, take part in both the before- and after-school programs. Photo by Steve Smith.

VERNON -In response to demand, as well as the success of its after-school REK program, the Vernon Parks and Recreation Department is starting a pilot program that will help working/commuting parents bridge that gap of time from when they have to leave for work in the morning, and the start of the school day for their children.
Parks and Rec. Assistant Director Steve Krajewski said social workers at Skinner Road School and Center Road School both said feedback from parents indicated a need for before-school care.
“We stepped forward, to see if we could help them out,” Krajewski said.
“Rise and Shine Kids” began at Skinner Road on Jan. 24, and already has about half a dozen students enrolled. The Center Road program is set to begin Feb. 7.
Krajewski said both programs will continue through the remainder of the school year, and enrollment numbers will dictate the program’s future, and if it should be implemented at other schools in town. Plans are in the works to possibly begin the program at Northeast and Maple Street Schools in the near future.
Students may be left at the schools, beginning at 7 a.m. The program is $35 per week, and will be pro-rated, based on school vacations and/or families’ schedules, per arrangements made in advance. There is no extra charge for days when there is a delay in the opening of school.
Breakfast, through the schools’ breakfast program, is available to the Rise and Shine students for $1 per day.
Like the after-school program, students will have an opportunity to complete homework, play games, and create arts and crafts.
REK Director Cathy Gentile said other offerings are becoming available, including a Mutt-i-gree program, in conjunction with local animal shelters.
“It teaches children responsibility and caring of animals,” Gentile said.
Flyers explaining the program in detail will be sent home with students.
Parents interested in either the before- or after-school programs should call the Parks and Rec. Department at 860-870-3520, or visit the department’s website at www.vernon-ct.gov/parks.


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