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School-age child care project offers resources.

The demand for school-age child care, which includes programs for children from kindergarten age through early adolescence during periods of time when schools are traditionally closed, has escalated due to changes in the structure of the family.

For instance, the increase in single parent households, an increase in the number of mothers in the workforce, and fewer available family members to care for children have increased the need and demand for school-age child care. These changes in the structure of the family have affected the ways in which we have traditionally cared for children.

The School-Age Child Care Project, located at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, near Boston, Massachusetts, provides some of the nation's finest research, training, and technical assistance to improve the quality and quantity of school-age child care programs.

The School-Age Child Care Project was initiated in 1979 in response to the needs of local and state policy makers as well as to the expressed needs of parents, school administrators, and child care providers. The Project provides publications and other resource materials to assist with implementing school-age child care programs.

Three of their current projects include:

* a partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals

* the Quality School-Age Child Care Assessment (ASQ) project

* and a study titled "Investigating Career Preparation in School-Age Care."

Public School Involvement in School-Age Child Care:This two year partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) which ends May 1, 1993, offers a series of services to improve the quality and quantity of school-age child care. Over the course of the project, principals, parents, and caregivers have been linked together to plan local child care. With the changes in family structure, principals have become increasingly concerned with activities of children outside of school. This three phase project involves workshops for principals and community members, leadership training for principals and publication of a new book for principals titled Standards for Quality School-Age Child Care.

During phase one, twenty regional training workshops are being held across the country for teams of principals and community members with priority given to teams from districts with a high percentage of disadvantaged, low income families. According to one principal, "I feel more connected with the community agency and how we can strengthen the program as a team." as a result of the workshops. NAESP Conference principals will attend a "Training of Trainers" to learn how to promote school age child care at the local level. And finally, Standards for Quality School Age Child Care, which will be available later in 1993, will be written in collaboration with a committee of principals.

The Quality School-Age Child Assessment Project: The Assessing School-Age Child Care Quality (ASQ) is a comprehensive self-guided assessment instrument for school-age child care programs. ASQ is a ten step process that out-lines the elements of quality, provides instruments to assess quality, and offers a process to improve programs. The ASQ process requires a partnership among community members, staff, parents, and children to develop and evaluate their program. The ASQ manual includes a step by step guide to program observation, administering questionnaires, meeting agendas, sample letters and planning charts and a resource guide. To participate in the ASQ process one can either purchase a manual and/or request on-site technical assistance. The ASQ manual is available in a large binder format for $45 plus $7 for shipping and handling.

Career Preparation

This one year study funded by DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund will determine the need and demand for college level preparation in school-age child care and develop curriculum to educate individuals who provide before and after school care. According to Michelle Seligson, principal investigator of the study and director of the School-Age Child Care Project, "There is evidence that successful after-school programs with appropriately trained caregivers contribute positively to a child's social, emotional, and psychological well-being." This project will review existing education and training for professional caregivers.
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Title Annotation:includes related resource information
Author:Doherty, Clare C.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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