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School district, TLC expand preschool child care coverage

  • The Charles City School District and The Learning Center (pictured) announced a new partnership this week, for the 2019-20 school year. The school district is combining its extended day program with TLC in an attempt to benefit families with expanded child care coverage. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • The Charles City School District and The Learning Center (pictured) announced a new partnership this week, for the 2019-20 school year. The school district is combining its extended day program with TLC in an attempt to benefit families with expanded child care coverage. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

A parent’s work schedule doesn’t always fall in line with a 4-year old’s preschool schedule.

The Charles City School District and TLC: The Learning Center in Charles City are working together to try to help that.

“We see the need for more opportunities for child care for the community,” said Washington Elementary Principal Kara Shannon. “We realized that if we had an entire day, it would make it easier on families.”

The two institutions announced a new partnership this week for the 2019-20 school year. It will provide family child care options from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering more hours to accommodate busy family schedules.

The extended day program will be held at the TLC building before and after school. A school bus will pick up students and take them to Washington Elementary in the morning, and a bus will deliver students to TLC in the afternoon. TLC is a CCSD bus stop and drop-off.

Although TLC provides day care for children aged six weeks old through kindergarten age, and also provides programs for children through fifth grade, this particular program is for 4-year-olds — specifically, children who will be 4 years old by Sept. 15.

The school district has offered a voluntary preschool program for 4-year-olds for several years, where families can choose between a morning or afternoon schedule. The preschool day includes academic centers, small group work, snacks, library and recess. Students involved in the preschool program also have special opportunities like field trips, assemblies and programs like the older buddy system, which benefits preschool and older elementary students. Class sizes do not exceed 20 students in a section.

“We were restricted at what we could offer for day care hours,” Shannon said. “By partnering with TLC, we have a 12-hour opportunity.”

TLC provides out-of-school enrichment opportunities for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Its program emphasizes the social, emotional, physical, (fine and gross motor skills) and cognitive growth of the children while focusing on their individual talents and needs.

“Partnering with them made sense,” Shannon said. “A lot of the values and beliefs between the two programs align really well.”

Families will have three options to choose from. They can choose before and after school care, which will be from 6 a.m. to 8:15 a.m in the mornings and 3:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the afternoons for $150 per month. They can choose before or after school care, where they choose either mornings or afternoons for $75 per month. The third option includes before and after school, Monday, non-school days and snow days for $250 per month. This includes breakfast, lunch and a snack.

Families needing child care before 8 a.m. or needing child care after 3:15 p.m. will drop off and pick at TLC. Washington Elementary School opens at 8 a.m. for breakfast for all students. Extended day preschool students will receive breakfast at TLC if they choose that option, for $28 per month.

Families that wish to participate in the extended day program will need to enroll their child at TLC. Parents can pick up a registration packet at 404 North Jackson, or call 641-228-4525.

Packets will also be available on Aug. 6 at Charles City Community Schools registration located at the middle school at 1200 1st Avenue. Families that initially enrolled in the extended day program will be automatically enrolled, but will need to fill out the registration packet from TLC.  Each family will need to provide TLC with a copy of their child’s physical and immunization records.

Washington preschool begins Tuesday, Sept. 3. Individuals can call the school district any time this summer with questions.

“We’re hoping for more partnerships in the future,” Shannon said.

In April, TLC representatives told the Charles City School District Board of Education that it was among the organizations interested in moving to space at 500 North Grand Avenue, the Charles City School District’s former middle school.

TLC has sent the school district a letter of intent to talk about renting rooms 130B through 134, in the northeast part of the 1970s addition of the building. Those are the former music rooms and industrial arts rooms that are across from the gymnasium, locker rooms and the now unused swimming pool. It also includes a boys and a girls restroom and some office and other space.

The move, if it happens, would be scheduled to take place before the summer of 2020.

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