As a working parent with elementary school-age children, the chances are that your child gets out of school before you get out of work each day. Finding the best after-school program for your child is sure to be a priority.
There are many different types of after school programs for elementary school age children in Canada. When looking for a program, you will want to take both your child’s and your needs into consideration.
First, you may want to list out what you are seeking, such as:
- Do you want a program that will make sure you child completes their homework? You might enjoy doing homework with your child and prefer the program doesn’t offer homework assistance. On the flip side, you may be too exhausted at the end of the day to deal with homework.
- Do you want a program that offers organized sports? Alternatively, would you and your child rather have free time to play as they wish?
- What is your budget as far as the cost of a program?
- Do you want your child cared for in a home setting, school setting, club, or another environment?
- Hours of availability. How late do you need the program to be open?
- What do you need as far as the location in relation to your work or home? If you work late, you may need a program that is closer to work so you can get there before they close.
- If transportation is necessary, how will your child get there?
These are a few things you will want to figure out before checking out programs. Once you have a general idea of what you want, it’s time to find out what’s available. Some of the programs that you might find in your area include:
After School Care at Your Child’s School
Some elementary schools have after-school programs on their campus. These programs are convenient in that the child doesn’t have to travel anywhere providing a seamless transition in their day. If your child’s school offers an after school program, you will want to check with them to see how it is structured. Do they provide the things you ae looking for?
These programs are usually reasonably priced and can be popular, so register early.
Clubs and Other Associations
You will need to do a bit of research to find out what programs are offered in your area. Some places to contact include:
- Local YMCA
- Local Parks and Recreation Centers
These types of after school programs may provide transportation from your child’s school to their facility. You will find that these programs vary in what they have to offer. Some may focus on team sports where others may provide a place for children to be safe and have free time until picked up by their parents.
Home after School Care
You may desire to have your child in a home setting after school. There are home daycare programs that care for infants through school-age children. There might also be a parent of one of your child’s peers that may be interested in keeping your child until you are off work.
If you choose to look at home after school care, be sure to visit the home when other children are present. Watch how the adult interacts with the children. You may also want to make sure there is, at least, one child that is around your child’s age, so they have someone to play with.
These are the most common after school program options. There may be others worth checking out in your area (like My Whole Earth Academy Inc). Keeping your child safe until you can be with them is crucial, be sure you are comfortable with the program you choose.