When both parents work away from home, childcare is often one of the biggest challenges. It’s not always feasible for a parent to be home before and after school during normal business hours. Friends and family may help out but are not always an option. Finding a quality before and after school program becomes a high priority.
When it comes to choosing a before and after school program for your child, you first want to know that your kids are in trustworthy, reliable hands. You’ll also want to know that the before and after school program you choose is adding value to your child’s life.
5 Key Ingredients of a Quality Before and After School Program
Here are a few things to consider when looking for the right before and after school program for your child.
1) Health and Safety
When your kids are away from you, it’s a given that you will have some degree of concern about their safety. It’s only natural. But, a quality before and after school program will have superior health and safety standards that will help put your mind at ease.
Examples of Questions to ask:
- Do they offer breakfast before school?
- Will your child receive a proper after school snack?
- How does the school handle food and other allergies?
- Is the environment clean, safe, and well-supervised?
- What safety guidelines are in place for physical activities?
Most likely you will not be able to leave work to transport your child to school and back to the before and after-school program. A quality program will have considered this and provide adequate transportation for your child to and from their facility.
3) Child Development
While some may see before and after-school care as a babysitting service, the best programs will build upon the skills your child is developing in their current grade. A quality program will focus on further intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development. Is spiritual development also important to your family? If so, you will most likely want to find a program that will offer spiritual development as well.
4) Indoor/Outdoor Play
Kids spend many hours indoors, especially in Texas, and often turn to electronics such as video games and TV for entertainment. The last thing you want from your before and after-school program is for them to sit in front of a TV the entire time. While there’s nothing wrong with incorporating a digital experience into their learning, a good program will provide balance with indoor and outdoor play.
5) Overall Experience
Your child will spend many hours in their before and after-school program so there’s no doubt you’ll want them to feel comfortable and secure. When vetting programs, consider the program as a whole. Make sure you are comfortable with the overall experience. If you are comfortable, it’s most likely they will be too!
At The Lighthouse School in Willis, we offer before and after-school care for kids in Kindergarten through 6th grade with a balance between social and educational interaction. We know it’s not easy to know how to choose the right before and after-school program for your family. Contact us to learn more about the program at The Lighthouse School and what sets us apart.