Inspirational and Empowering Child Care Business Owners To Build Successful Child Care Businesses

Posts tagged ‘before/after school’

10 Traits of a Quality Before/After School Program

I’ve been caring for school-age children for over 21 years . In fact, I have grown to love this age group because they love to have fun and they look forward to going to a program that meets their needs.

Throughout the month of August, I have been featuring blog post about how to create a cool place for school-age children and I thought I would end this month’s theme by covering  10 areas that I believe contributes to providing a quality program for school-age children.

1. Find out what the children want. The best way to keep the children interested in your program and to prevent the children from being bored is by asking the children what they like to do. Upon enrollment, ask the child to tell you what he or she likes to do and plan to incorporate what the child likes into the daily activities.

2. Serve Breakfast and Snacks that the children love. I have walked into my school-age classroom and found some children enjoying snack while others choose not to eat, because they do not want what is being served. To assure that all the children participate at meal time, ask the children in advance what they would like for snack and add those food choices to the menu.

3. Choose a teacher that connects with the children. Many early childhood professionals prefer to care for preschool-age children for a variety of reasons. However, I think that it takes an individual that desires to work with youth, understands the school-age child and is highly trained to work with them. Moreover, the teacher must be very energetic, because school-age children have lots of energy and they need a teacher that will keep them motivated.

4. Connect with the local school. It is vital that you connect with the local school and adapt your program to what is happening in the local schools. In fact, I’m sure the parents and children love to see a bulletin board in your program that displays their school’s activities and events. Moreover, when you connect with the local schools by sending them information about your after school program, they will tell parents about your program. This is a great way to build rapport with the school principal and staff. Also, consider featuring the local schools on your website as a resource link to parents that visit your website.

5. Plan plenty of open-ended Art & Sensory activities. Believe it or not, school-age children love to do messy activities just like preschoolers.  During the process of getting my center accredited, one of the requirements of receiving accreditation was to provide sensory activities for school-age children. I was quite shocked and I gave it a try. The kids loved all the hands-on and sensory activities. Many of the activities included:

  • Shaving cream fun
  • Pails of water with cups, spoons, bowl
  • yarn, scissors, glue
  • Variety of construction and white paper
  • Flour and measuring cups
  • Home made playdoh
  • Gak
  • Variety of felt and tissue paper

I know many of the items above are messy and that’s the point….kids love messiness!

5. Promote Literacy, Math, Science and Technology Use. Offering daily literacy activities will help the children to develop their writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. So be sure to have a variety of books and magazines on hand for the children to read. Also provide a place for writing that is well stocked with paper, pens, markers and pencils. To support math and science, be sure to add the following items in the environment: calculators, calendars, clock, maps, math problem cards, plants to water, rocks, leaves,etc. Moreover, we are living in a time where technology is a necessity and the children will love it if they can bring, cell-phones, i-pads, i-pods or laptops to the program. Be sure to create technology rules.

6. Have a Transportation Policy in Place.  To assure that your expectations are clear on van safety rules, pick-up, drop-off and driver procedures; it is vital that you create a transportation policy. Moreover, be sure to create a policy with safety in mind. Some of those rules could include, but are not limited to:

  • Drop-off and pick-up times at the local schools
  • Parent responsibilities to call when children will be absent
  • Van rules (wear seat belts, no loud voices, do not bring weapons on the van,etc)
  • Bad weather procedures
  • Car seat regulations for your state
  • Transportation fees
  • Number of children allowed on the van
  • Information that should be available to the van driver
  • Head count procedures

7. Fun Filled Daily Schedule. To create a consistency in your program, create a daily schedule. Your daily schedule must meet the needs of the children in your school-age program. Here is a sample morning schedule:

6-7:15am- Free choice activities (computers, writing, reading or table games)

7:15-7:30- Clean-up/prepare for breakfast

7:30-8am- Breakfast

8:00-8:15am Clean-up/prepare to leave for school

8. Daily Chores. Having a chore for each child is a great way to promote independence and to teach the children to be responsible. Simply create a chore chart, post classroom chores and invite the children to choose their chore of choice. Chores can include: plant helper, meal time helper, line leader, office helper, preschool helper,etc.

9. Parent Involvement. Parents play a very important role in their children’s lives and it is important that parents are involved in everything that you do in your before/after school program including: getting their advice on after school activities, home work time or even inviting parents to talk with the school-age children about their careers.

10. No Bullying Policy. Bullying seems to be a major problem among school-age children, however it does not have to be a major problem in your before/after school program. In fact, it is vital that you create a no bullying policy and discuss it on a regular basis with the children. Also, the parents must be aware of the “No Bullying” policy. Don’t forget to post, NO BULLYING signs.

With your Success in Mind!

Shiketa Morgan


Care Beyond Daycare: Before and Aftercare Programs





Guest Post by Akira German, Founder/ Program Director at Ever Rise Youth Programs, LLC.

At this moment a parent somewhere is wondering where to send their child after school. And let’s face it, the options are scarce: you have the overly-priced and nationally recognized childcare centers, a family members home, the home childcare nearby, or even the child can become a latchkey kid.

Why not have their children in your Child Care program? Before and Aftercare programs can seem a bit intimidating to get started but, with strategic planning and execution; it can be a fun and profitable venture.

Are you readAkiray to care for children beyond Preschool age?

First, consider the different kinds of before and after-care customers or parents you would like to cater to.

Everyone is looking for something different so figure out what areas are best for you.

Of course you can’t be everything to everybody so never hesitate to say “This program may not be the best fit for you.”

I had a couple that wanted me to drill their poor kid consistently in math and English, even after several hours of school, providing no breaks, socialization or even educational games; just drills and correction. This is simply not my thing so I had to let them walk.

Please note that before and after-care customers typically fall in one or more of the following categories:

  • Parents who want before/after-care simply because they are working
  • Parents who need care because family ARE available but would rather have enrichment activities
  • Parents who speak English as a second language and need assistance helping their children with daily homework assignments
  • Parents who want tutoring and enrichment with the sole purpose of bringing up the child’s grades
  • Parents who have children who are excelling and want them stay ahead of the status quo in school

akira 2

It is important to know which customer you are dealing with so you can cater to their interest. Each parent will look for different qualities in your program.

 What about Before/After-care space options?

Where will you care for the school age children? Do you have space in your existing facility where they can have quite time? Older children can get easily distracted by the parents entering the facility and babies crying, they would need their own space. Consider local schools that may have free space for a few hours and can benefit from a on site program. Churches are great and you may even have a few customers already there. Get creative! Some of my colleagues have bought houses near each other and dedicated one solely to older children. I have met one provider that used a double for her childcare and simply put the older children in the other half.

Where do I find my potential customers?

I personally like to go to the source, I found that many school here in Indianapolis still have not taking the initiative to provide before and after-care for their children. Find those schools and contact the local office for permission to send home advertisements. Host a skate party or something similar, at a local bounce house to introduce the program. Pass out stickers with the flyers so children take them home to remind parents.

Become acquainted with the teachers. Consider sending them goodie bags just to let them know you are there to help them if needed. Tutoring and homework assistance at home does wonders for eliminate stress on the teacher’s end. Let them know that! Also, be patient. With my first attempt at starting a before an after-care program, I sent out 800+ flyers to one school. I waited 3 months before getting my first callback.

How to start preparing a schedule?

Decide how to organize the children seats and classroom. I would suggest letting them blow off some steam before getting started. Get a simple snack menu together so employees can have the food ready when they arrive. If you are having lots of downtime, consider combining the snack and eating them in one fun activity.

I personally love cooking with children because they are always so engaged. Create a schedule that cycles, as the children arrive; have them go in an area where they can snack and talk. Next, send them to a quiet area to work and read. Then, when they are finish, have them go back into the snack are with games and activities until you are ready to work “one on one” or with that age/grade level group.

I hope that you enjoyed Akira’s Before/After Care tips. If so, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below.

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