The St. Alphonsus (St. A’s) After-School Program (ASP) will officially start on Monday, April 3rd.
By Melissa Anderson
The transition from the Langdon Daycare Center after-school program to St. A’s has been taking place over the last months as a result of the Langdon Daycare Center board of directors trying to find a solution for the center to keep up with the influx of babies and young kids that are populating the community.
“As most people know, a few years ago we put on an addition to the daycare to create more space and to add a safe space during threatening weather,” Carla Gemmill, a daycare board member, said, ”This was great for a while, but the kids just kept coming.”
Presently, the daycare is preparing to relocate their preschool and pre-k classroom to the basement, so as to open up the last room upstairs to be made into a transitional room for the older 2 year olds before they move into the 3 year old room.
“With this change, we will have used up all possible space to house our kiddos,” Gemmill shared.
This brought the board a new problem that resulted in several brainstorming sessions. After looking at a few options, the board was brought back to a program that was used in Langdon in the past and is used in numerous other small towns in our area as well as throughout North Dakota and Minnesota, an after-school program.
“Approximately 20-25 years ago, there was an extended school program (ESP) running in our town,” Gemmill said.
When the director of the program retired, the daycare was approached to see if they could accommodate these kids. At that point, the daycare had ample room so they agreed to take over that age group of kids.
“Clearly, our dynamic has changed, and it made perfect sense to see if we could hand this program back to a school,” Gemmill said, “Thankfully, Mr. Simonsen from St. A’s was very open to the idea when told the details and was on-board with getting a program started at St. A’s.”
Derek Simonsen, the principal at St. A’s, and St. A’s will be assisted by the daycare board in figuring out some of the details to ensure that the program will be an easy transition for the daycare’s after-school kids.
“Although we anticipate a majority of these kids utilizing this program, it is open to all kids grades K-8, not just those that have been attending the daycare,” Gemmill said.
The After-School Program (ASP) will be run on school days only and will be run by licensed St. Alphonsus School teachers. ASP will run from 3:25 till 5:30 p.m. each school day. It will take place in the St. A’s cafeteria, gym, and playground. There will be structured educational opportunities, homework time, board and quiz games, arts and crafts, and free time in the gym and on the playground. All students must be picked up by 5:30 p.m. each day, and they must be registered in the St. A’s office before coming to the program.
“St. Alphonsus School is excited to take over the after-school program to provide a service that is needed in the community,” Simonsen said, ”St. A’s has plenty of space in the parish center, cafeteria, and playground to accommodate the students, and we are excited for more families to be in the school facility.”
St. A’s students that need after-school care will have the benefit of just going from their classroom at the end of the day over to the cafeteria and gym. Students from the public school will ride the school bus together over to St. A’s after school. The public school will aid St. A’s in safe and effective transportation of the students in ASP.
The cost for the month of April and May for the program will be $11/day for non-St. A’s students and $8/day for St. A’s students.
“April and May will be a great opportunity to run the program for a couple of months and then smooth out any of the difficulties over the summer before the school year starts in the fall again,” Simonsen explained, “We, at St. A’s, believe this could be a program that lasts a long time at our school, and we are hopeful that it encourages more families to consider St. A’s for their PreK-8th grade education as they see our wonderful facility and get to know our teachers and staff better.”
The daycare’s program currently has anywhere from 10-20 kids coming over for after-school care and based on their pre-k enrollment, are anticipating another 15-25 kids needing care next year.
“So, with the new program starting April 3, any kids that are needing after-school care will now get to participate in St. A’s ASP instead of coming to the daycare,” Gemmill said.
Gemmill and the other members of the daycare board truly feel that this will be a wonderful program for these school-aged kids as they will have more age-appropriate activities/games after school and a wonderful facility to do them in.
“If any parents have questions from a daycare standpoint, we are more than happy to try to answer them or discuss any concerns anyone may have,” Gemmill said.
For more information about the after-school program, contact St. Alphonsus School at 701-256-2354 or stop by the St. A’s school office Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.