Before and after school programs: More than a daycare

These programs can help you balance your work commitments with your child's school schedule, but they're full of education.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Now that we’re a few days into school, maybe you’re starting to realize that your work schedule and your child’s school schedule don’t quite see eye to eye. Luckily, there’s a solution, and it’s not a simple time-waster.

There was a time when before and after school programs were a sort of indoor recess, but things have changed. The Lincoln Community Learning Center covers 29 campuses across the district, each with a carefully curated educational plan.

“When you see one CLC”, says Director Nola Derby-Bennett, “that’s one example of what CLC can look like, but everybody is really creative and making sure that they’re responding to the needs of their specific students in their building.”

There’s a big emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, but also included are reading, practicing social skills, and yes, a little bit of fun and games.

“I usually do some crafts. They plan really fun activities”, says Randolph Elementary 5th grader Elena Noelle Quiroz. She continues, describing a typical morning: “Then we have a snack, we go outside for recess; we have a 20-minute recess outside. It’s really fun.”

Make no mistake. This isn’t some glorified daycare, designed for kids to while away the time until school starts, or until you can pick them up in the afternoon. It’s an extension of their educational day, complete with some bonuses.

“I was working with our curriculum team yesterday on getting all the materials for Lego robotics going on in our middle schools. So really cool experiences, I think, for our students to get their hands on things they may not otherwise even have awareness of”, says Nola.

Those cool experiences and the everyday ones combine so that even through the masks, you can pick out smiles. And isn’t that the best way to spend a day at school?


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