School-based Childcare Providers Have a Critical New Role to Play Amid Pandemic
How has COVID-19 changed the role of school-based enrichment programs?
The pandemic has changed the nature of before and after school programs in three fundamental ways:
- COVID-19 has forced many districts to reopen on staggered or half-day schedules, leaving parents with limited childcare options. As such, on-site enrichment and childcare are no longer just happening before and after school. In some cases, childcare providers are operating all day to accommodate these hybrid schedules and provide enrichment opportunities for students right on campus.
- It has never been more important to ensure that your district’s childcare partners are fluent in Social-Emotional Development and Trauma-Informed Care. After an emotionally challenging spring and summer, many students are struggling to readjust to the expectations of school life. Childcare providers like Right At School, with SEL-rich curriculum and experience supporting vulnerable students, can smooth the transition back to school.
- Like schools, enrichment providers have implemented rigorous new health and safety protocols, from physically distanced curriculum to increased sanitation, temperature checks, etc. Right At School was one of the first childcare providers to adopt such policies, jumping into action in March 2020 to provide full-day camps for the children of first responders and essential workers across the country. Maintaining safe physical distancing throughout the pandemic has inspired us to develop new, safe activities that keep kids healthy and engaged without sacrificing the fun factor.
How can parents afford the increasing costs of childcare?
We’re in a difficult environment, to be sure. Even with COVID-related changes like higher staff-student ratios and enhanced safety procedures, we’re able to keep parent fees at less than $6 per child per hour. These costs can be offset further by state subsidies, local grants, and even employer childcare benefits.
Who provides school-based enrichment services?
Districts should look at all the options—some schools operate successful in-house programs, while others partner with local government or community-based groups. Still others choose to partner with professional enrichment and childcare providers like Right At School. Every day, we provide full day camps and before and after school programs to 40,000 children across the U.S.
Right At School is a leading provider of school-based enrichment programs. Visit RightAtSchool.com to learn more.