Wells Gray After School Care Program is a partnership

Wells Gray After School Program provides safe, affordable, licensed after school care for elementary school students

Participants in Wells Gray After School Care Program practice their crafts

Participants in Wells Gray After School Care Program practice their crafts

Wells Gray After School Program provides safe, affordable, licensed after school care for elementary school students. The program is administered by the Yellowhead Community Services and is operated in partnership with the Kamloops Thompson School District. There are currently 16 students registered in the program.

Purpose of the program is to provide a quality care environment for children of working parents. It starts every day after school lets out and runs until 6 p.m., even on professional development days. It provides a fun alternative for parents who face the prospect of having their children home alone or supervised by older siblings with nothing more than electronic toys to occupy their time. There is a much more interactive atmosphere presence than at a most daycares or latchkey programs.

The program was developed by YCS to fill a perceived gap in after school care in Clearwater. It recognizes that kids work hard at school all day and need some fun and relaxation afterwards. They are provided with snacks and outside time. There are age-appropriate crafts, games and other non-academic activities to give them a break from the classroom.

But it also recognizes that school doesn’t always end when the bell rings. Participants have time to do their homework, and can get help if needed. Students can also get extra help with reading development.

Being in the school allows those involved in after-school activities to come and go as their activity starts and ends. It may even allow more participation by those who may otherwise be prohibited as parents deal with transportation or other issues.

Susanne Butcher and Suzanne Bourassa are the highly trained individuals who provide this daily care. Both have extensive training in early childhood education. Susanne describes this field as “her passion” and has been involved for over 29 years. She has her Early Childhood Education diploma as well as special needs and infant rearing training. Suzanne is also a nurse who has her LPN and is working on her RN certification. Both women are also mothers.

This is the first year of the program and is something of a pilot project within this school district. The space in the school is free of charge and includes the custodian. YCS tried to keep the fees as low as possible so the program is accessible to those in need. There may be opportunities for financial assistance through the BC Child Care Subsidy program for those who qualify.

– Grant Gale

 

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