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Hampton/Shaler

YMCA kindergarten morning child care set for Hampton

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A morning YMCA-led program for kindergarten students will be offered next year at Hampton Township School District as a pilot, as discussed at the recent school board meeting Feb. 3.

The registration will be held March 4, at one of the elementary schools, with details forthcoming. Hampton School District has half-day, morning or afternoon kindergarten. This will accommodate those with children in afternoon classes.

The first six children at each of the three elementary schools, who are also districted there, will be accepted into the program. The YMCA usually holds registration on a first-come, first-served basis, Dr. Colleen Hannagan, principal for Poff said. That would be 18 slots total.

The student limit is to accommodate the current YMCA staffing available.

While there may be some “wiggle room,” they would have to hire more people for more participants, said Hannagan, who is liaison to the program.

The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Poff Elementary School, according to Amanda Sullivan, BASE regional director for the Baierl Family YMCA and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

“The K-Wrap program is designed to expand on half-day education by having students participate in developmentally appropriate activities. Students will take part in fun, educational and creative activities, based off of the kindergarten curriculum,” said Sullivan.

Rates are still being decided, said Sullivan. There will be a one-time registration fee of $30, and the family then chooses a yearly or monthly membership, which will determine the monthly cost.

Hannagan said she was told it is “cost competitive.”

The school district is merely providing space for the program but the YMCA is in charge of K-Wrap. Hannagan is acting as a school district liaison.

The school board discussed last month the kindergarten wrap option. And Hannagan said when parents heard about the possibility for Hampton, the YMCA “received a high volume of calls” searching for details.

Anyone who chooses to participate in this program will be assigned to the afternoon, half-day kindergarten as the childcare will only be held in the morning. Parents would drop off their kindergarten student in the morning, and then the YMCA will provide busing for the students to their appropriate kindergarten school midday. The student will then ride the district-provided bus home as they normally would have been doing, according to Jeff Kline, director of administration for the school district.

The school district is “going to have no direct finance or oversight” in regard to transportation in midday, he said. That is being handled by the YMCA.

While there is a first-come, first-served registration for this program, Dr. Michael Loughead, superintendent for the school district, said sign-up for the program procedures could differ in the future if it continues.

The Baierl YMCA and YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh hold a Before and After School Enrichment program at Hampton School District, or BASE, which began in the fall.

The Township of Hampton had offered an afterschool program at the community center early last year, but had to cancel the program in July due to lack of qualified staffing. The township administration then approached the school district last year with the idea of hosting a before and after school program for students.

The district met with local YMCA representatives and agreed on piloting a program for this school year. It has been more successful than they expected, said Hannagan.

“It grew very, very quickly without marketing. It has been very successful. Things are going very well with that program so we are looking forward to continuing that for next year,” said Hannagan.

They now have more than 60 students participating in the before and after school program.

“Hampton’s BASE program is off to a great start. Next year we definitely will see our numbers increase, especially with the addition of a K-Wrap program,” Sullivan said.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.