WARSAW — A new school year means a fresh start for kids, a chance to start new routines and habits, build new friendships and discover new possibilities and interests.
As children transition from summer to fall, Kosciusko Community YMCA offers programs to school-aged children throughout Kosciusko County to keep them active, busy and engaged during out-of-school time. Through a holistic approach to youth development, the Y’s program offers activities in a caring and safe environment during the critical hours after school.
At the end of the day, 11.3 million kids are headed home to be unsupervised from 3-6 p.m., according to the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness advocacy organization. In Indiana, 20 percent of children are left alone and responsible for taking care of themselves. With a new school year about to begin, Kosciusko Community YMCA encourages parents to make sure that children are involved in safe, educational experiences after school hours.
The Y’s after-school program combines academics with play for youth who may otherwise be left unsupervised. Claypool, Eisenhower, Harrison, Jefferson, Leesburg, Lincoln, Madison, Mentone, Pierceton and Washington Elementary Schools all host YMCA Kids’ Club sites from 6 a.m. until school starts and again after school until 6 p.m. for children entering kKindergarten through sixth grade. Claypool, Leesburg, Mentone and Pierceton will also offer care for 3- to 5-year-olds in addition to the elementary school-aged students from 6 a.m. until school starts to accommodate their preschools. There is no after-school care at Claypool.
Kids’ Club has a curriculum involving arts and humanities, health and nutrition, STEM, college and career readiness and leadership development. Time is also scheduled for homework and kids’ club caregivers are there to help. There is plenty of time for fun with group games and activities. Kids are encouraged to be active for at least 30 minutes of play each morning and each afternoon.
In addition to the before and after-school program, as an extension of kids’ club, the Y offers care on school breaks or when school is cancelled unexpectedly. For grades K-6 this program is held at Parkview Warsaw YMCA from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required for scheduled school break camps. This year scheduled camps are over fall break, Christmas break, Jan. 9, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, spring break and June 2.
The YMCA provides financial assistance for those who qualify. Applications need to be turned in three weeks in advance to ensure each child can be involved in a program that will benefit his or her character and educational developmentne.
Register at the YMCA, 1305 Mariners Drive, Warsaw. Contact Tonya Douglass at (574) 269-9622 with any questions. For further information see the website at www.kcymca.org.