After-school child care options range across the area
Last Updated: 88 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The school day typically ends hours before the work day does, for most adults. That leaves parents with the stressful dilemma of what to do with their children for that gap of time. Thankfully, there are options – no matter what your budget.
Kindergartner Landon Guerra hops on the bus after school every day – but he doesn’t go home. He’s going to The Play School in Noblesville.
"Before you would always call it a day care, but it's more of an early childhood education center," Landon’s mom, Katie, said.
One option the facility offers working parents is an after-school program for children up to 12 years old that runs until 6 p.m. The Play School’s buses usually bring the kids from school to the facility.
Once at The Play School, kids are fed a snack. They do homework, do crafts and play outside.
"Our society just isn't safe enough anymore for the kids to just go home and, you know, be unsupervised from 4 to 6 until mom gets home," Katie said.
Landon is not only lucky to have a safe place to hang out after school, but he’s also lucky because Katie is director of The Play School.
Fellow kindergartner Luci’s mom doesn’t work at The Play School, but works, nonetheless.
Diana Clouser chose The Play School over having a nanny because of the socialization it offers her children.
"I would love to be a stay-at-home mom,” Clouser said. “So the next best thing is to have them in a place you know they're gonna be loved and have support."
Licensed mental health counselor Kimble Richardson helps working parents deal with the guilt and stress of not being able to stay at home.
"Studies show when child care is appropriate, people are trained appropriate, it's clean, it's bright, it's appropriate age-wise, that most times, kids have no ill effects," Richardson said.
He suggests parents thoroughly examine their options and ask each provider certain questions:
- Is the facility licensed?
- What are the staff’s qualifications?
- Do the bus drivers have the appropriate training?
- Can I come by sometime to hang out?
"And if they say, ‘No, we don't allow that,’ I'd be like, ‘This is not the place for me,’" Kimble said.
Fourth grader Cara Hornsby doesn’t have to take a bus to her after-school program. She’s part of the YMCA’s Youth Enrichment program at her school. It’s offered at more than 100 elementary and intermediate schools in the area.
This program also runs until 6 p.m. Kids are fed a snack. They get homework help and are often put into separate groups based on age for their activities.
Listening to your kids is what Richardson said parents can do to make sure they’ve chosen the right after-school program. If your children are happy when you pick them up, you’ve probably chosen the right one.
The Play School has several locations in Hamilton County and the after-school program costs $85 per week.
The YMCA’s fee is based on need.
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