To support families in the Springfield community in a new school year, Willamalane Park and Recreation District reimagined school-age care. On Sept. 21, Willamalane launched modified programming and care schedules for local students.
Designed to support local families, three new programs offer an in-person environment where kids can have fun and focus on their studies. In all programs, kids have access to the internet and a quiet space to participate. Parents should send students with the device provided by their school and headphones or earbuds with a microphone.
All school-age programs will be held at Willamalane facilities instead of Springfield school sites, and transportation to and from care will not be provided at this time. Caregivers overseeing school-age care are not certified teachers or tutors but will be able to help kids with logging into and navigating their online schooling platform. Caregivers will also provide basic homework support when needed.
The district’s main program is Springfield Squirrels, a full-time care program that supports students in grades 4-5 starting the year with distance learning. Springfield Squirrels will best support online learners enrolled in SPS Online, however, the program also supports out-of-district students and K-3 students enrolled in SPS Online. Care runs from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays from Sept. 21 through Dec. 18.
The second full-time care option is Willamalane Wallabies. This program is ideal for students grades K-3 who need full-time care and runs 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays. Springfield Salamanders is the third option and is structured as part-time care. This program runs in alignment with the hybrid learning hours at Springfield Public Schools, so it is ideal for students enrolled in that hybrid learning program. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, care is available after school hours from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday is planned as a full-time care day because in-person learning is not scheduled. Both Springfield Salamanders and Willamalane Wallabies programs are currently planned for the weeks of Sept. 21 and 28. Future programs have not yet been finalized.
Families interested in signing up for any of the three options for school-age care can visit willamalane.org/schoolagecare.
Preschool registration is also available, without significant changes to care hours. Families interested in preschool programs can visit willamalane.org/preschool.