After the Bell program looking to expand

By Staff

Legal – Town council gave their blessing to administration to go ahead with an expansion to Legal’s out-of-school care program. Legal FCSS Coordinator Ruthann Weeks told council the program ran strictly as an after school program three days per week last school season, but she wished to expand the program to cover the entire school week, something feedback on last year’s program indicated there was a desire for.

“We got some feedback – three days was not sufficient,” Weeks said, adding there was interest in adding before school hours and professional development days to the program. “We are a bedroom community and I think there will be a need there.”

Council heard that Bon Accord and Gibbons are both launching programs this fall, ranging in price from $300 to $350 per month plus registration fee. Legal’s program would be $370 per month with no registration fee.

If Legal’s FCSS coordinator is able to make the full program fly, it would run from 6:30 a.m until 8:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. during school days and from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on non school days.

The program will need to become licensed in order to allow those who need financial assistance to apply for day care funding; however, Weeks told council that it was her understanding that the program could run as a club for no more than 12 consecutive weeks during the licensing process, which can take between three and six months.

The proposed program would make use of three part-time staff, supervised by Legal’s FCSS department. Each would be required to obtain Child Development Assistance certification, a program that is available through the province at no cost. Additionally, all staff involved in the program will be required to have criminal record and child welfare checks.

Success for the program seems likely. Weeks told council she already had seven pre-registrations for morning sessions, 11 for after school, and an additional seven for non school days, higher numbers than Weeks used in her cost analysis for the program.

The program is set to take place at the Legal School through the Town’s joint use agreement with the school board to use the school’s lunch room and kitchen, as well as the big Brothers / big Sisters room. Gym access will be made available on some mornings and professional development days.

Weeks told council the program will be seeded by a one-time FCSS donation of $1,000 and that she plans to do some fundraising at the Chamber of commerce trade fair this fall.

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