Friday, August 06, 2010

The After-School Care Conundrum

Any of you readers without school-age children may want to go ahead and close your browser, because I assure you, this post will bore you to tears.

When we decided to move The Geej to public school for the first grade, the spectre of what to do with the vexing hours between roughly 2:30 and 5:30 loomed large. The school offers several after-school program options--one, on campus put on by the YMCA, and the others, off campus at other facilities. So of course, I have drug my heels in touring these facilities and making a decision until today.

Option #1
Looked good on the outside and from the website, but almost as soon as I entered the front doors, I wanted to bolt. It was unorganized, appeared to be understaffed (and the staff that were there were just sort of standing around watching the kids, not engaging at all), and OMG it was utter fucking chaos. My tour guide didn't know the answers to half of the questions I was asking, and the whole place just reminded me of "Lord of the Flies". There were about 100 kiddos just going nuts all over the place. Seriously. I kept looking for the kid holding the conch. When I finally got the helloutta there, I had a horrible sick feeling, like I'd been kicked in the gut. I was terrified that the next tour would yield the same results, and then we'd be screwed.

Option #2
Also looked good on the outside and from the website. And when I walked in, it was totally serene. Hell, they even had classical music playing. During the tour, the director answered all of my questions and even asked me some! About my child!! Their after-school program is about 1/4 the size of the program at Option #1, which was way, WAY too big, in my opinion. And they offer an orientation and tour and bus pick-up run through for the new kiddos (none of which were offered by Option #1). So yeah... I'm going to be taking The Geej by there next week to check it out and see what she thinks, but I'm feeling pretty good about Option #2. I mean, as good as you CAN feel about other people having to take care of your kids while you earn a living. Sigh.

BTW, I attended an after-school program that I dearly loved when I was The Geej's age. And then I became a latch-key kid, which is fodder for a whole 'nother post.

1 comment:

Hecticmom Undone said...

I'm there with you... And this post didn't bore me (but it did stress me out a little.) It gets harder as they get older.

What to do with my 11 year old (MIDDLE SCHOOL child?) There is no after school care.. Does she stay at home by herself? She's 11. that seems really young. She's very very responsible - but still...

We also don't know what to do with our 4th grader - our after school option is very similiar to your option #1.

I'm thinking we should get a babysitter - that would solve all of our problems. I have a week. Umm... I suppose I should try to find someone.. How do I find someone?