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City Launches After School Program

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Montpelier After School
The Montpelier Rec Dept. will run an after school program at 46 Barre Street this fall. Photo by Tom Brown

Parents of school-aged children should have more options for after school care this fall, regardless of whether learning takes place in-person, online, or both.

The Montpelier Recreation Department is seeking state approval to become a licensed child care provider and hopes to offer after-school programming beginning with the start of classes September 8.

The program is open to children in Kindergarten through age 12 and will be based in part of the space formerly occupied by the River Rock School in the nonprofit Center for Arts and Learning at 46 Barre Street. River Rock closed this summer.

Arne McMullen, the city’s recreation director, said the city needed “a couple more permits and a final review” before receiving its child care license. He expected the license, with a maximum capacity of 44 students, to be in place by the start of the school year.

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“We’ve been hearing that there is a lot of need for child care so we’re trying to help with some of those challenges,” McMullen said.

The city has hired two part-time program staff and expects to hire at least two more before school starts, McMullen said. It is also seeking a part-time director for the child care program. All of the staff members will be certified in CPR and First Aid, he said.

“We’d eventually like to have 4 to 6 program staff but could start out with less based on participation,” he said.

McMullen said he would hope to have at least 30 students to start and will be based in two classrooms of the former school. The program will adhere to social distancing recommendations and will not interfere with other occupants of the Arts and Learning Center, officials said.

The program will run five days a week from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Program staff will escort the children from Union Elementary School to the Barre Street facility.

The program will include games, crafts, indoor and outdoor activities, and quiet space for homework and clubs, McMullen said. In addition to the River Rock space, the program will also use the Recreation Center gym for indoor games when the weather is poor.

“Our base will be in the River Rock space, which is going to allow us a lot of flexibility,” McMullen said. “We’ve done a lot of summer camps where we have to move stuff around every day but here we can be in one place for the entire session.”

The weekly cost for one student is $80, and $75 for each additional family member. Parents can sign up and pay for each of the 12 weekly sessions separately or pay in advance for the entire fall semester, which runs September 8–November 25, including snow days. 

Pre-registration is required and McMullen said he would like to see, given the COVID-19 pandemic, that the groups be consistent and would discourage daily drop-ins.

The Part 2 After School program that serves the Montpelier-Roxbury Public Schools district is also starting its second year in the fall.

More information can be found at the Rec Department website. Parents may apply for state child care subsidies at dcf.vermont.gov/benefihe wts/ccfap

This article was updated Tuesday, September 1, to clarify the space to be used in the Center for Arts and Learning.

Tom Brown is contributing editor of The Bridge. ..... You can contact him at tom@montpelierbridge.com