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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 2:37 pm | Partly Cloudy 64º


@Afterschool Childcare Program Growing in Goleta

For Lisa Miller, working with children is enjoyable. Her daily playtime, overseeing homework support and story times with kindergarten students are built around the interest of young learners.

“The day goes by pretty quickly,” said Miller, @afterschool staff at Mountain View Elementary in Goleta. “It’s not academic. It is about having fun after school.”

Parents now have access to the on-campus daycare program for their students enrolled at Goleta Union School District, including Brandon, Ellwood, Foothill, Hollister, Isla Vista, Kellogg, Mountain View and La Patera elementary schools. 

The care program operates from the school’s dismissal until 5:30 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and on minimum school days too.

In 2015, @afterschool pilot programs began at four GUSD elementary schools.

Attendance fluctuates but Miller, and another @afterschool staff member, supervise about 40 kindergarten-to-sixth-grade students in one room at Mountain View Elementary.

“Even though there’s a wide range of ages, they all get along well,” Miller said.

The kinderbridge program and the @afterschool program are designed to support the district’s mission by providing a safe, engaging and supportive environment while emphasizing wellness and socioemotional learning.

Program Coordinator Heather Cash said the expansion was in response to parent requests. 

The program is serving more than 450 GUSD elementary school-age children.

“There was a huge need for daycare — families wanted a safe place for their children after school, and it is wonderful to have the children stay on campus and not have to be transported,” Cash said. “We are going to continue to meet the demands and capacity that families need.”

It is a fee-based program, Cash said.

Monthly @afterschool tuition fee for care five days a week is $325.

“We work hard to make sure it’s affordable,” Cash said. “The fees pay for the cost of the program.”

Cash said low-income families may receive up to 50 percent financial assistance.

In 2017, Cash said, the program is offering financial aid exceeding an estimated $60,000.

Students receive healthy snacks, outdoor play and indoor activities, creative and cooperative play and socioemotional learning skills.

“Our staff works hard to have the kind of environment you would want your child to be in after school,” said Nina Hoke, @afterschool staff at Ellwood Elementary School.

Hoke said safety is the highest priority, and parents sign out their child with a key code.

“Families say how appreciated they are that their children are safe on campus,” Hoke said. “We know where the children are at all times.”

Enrollment for 2018-2019 school year will open for current @afterschool families March 19.

New families can register online April 3.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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