Friday, October 8, 1999
Extended Day to have new home
The Carlisle Extended Day Program has purchased the former home and office of pediatrician Dr. Ron Schneebaum on East Street for its after-school programs for children. The non-profit group took out a mortgage on the home and will extensively remodel the interior to accommodate children in its grades K-6 program. According to Jane Barnett, president of the parent-run program, the group has been looking to buy its own space for some time and hopes to move into the new location, once renovations are complete, in January
The changes to the building will take place within the existing footprint of the home. A parent in the Extended Day Program is an architect and is redesigning the building. The program, which will take responsibility for maintenance, is now doing preliminary work to ensure that the building is handicapped-accessible, the water is tested and the facility is up to code for its intended use.
The building at 142 East Street will no longer be used as a private residence. The Carlisle Extended Day Program is a non-profit educational organization and the program is one of the permitted uses in a residential area according to zoning bylaws, Barnett said.
The Carlisle Extended Day Program was founded in 1981 to provide after-school activities for children of working parents. It was previously located at the Carlisle School and now leases space at Saint Irene Church on East Street. While the group was pleased to have space in the church facility, Barnett explained that finding a permanent home has been an important goal because the program has been continually growing. Currently, the Extended Day Program has 110 students with approximately 70 attending at any one time since some students attend part-time. The program is funded by student tuitions.
Barnett, who is a working parent of two children in the program, said, "We're so excited about having permanent space in a home-like setting for the kids. We're thinking of having a home base for each age group where kids will check in and either stay there or go to other rooms for an activity." Some of the possible activities at the new site include music and art lessons, nature study, walks and practical skill classes such as cooking, sewing and gardening.
As for the seven acres surrounding the home, Barnett says the horse paddock may be turned into a playing field. "There are lots of green outside areas for the kids to play on grass. We have lots of trees and there are wetlands where we hope we can make some walking trails. There is a lot of excitement about the kinds of things we can now offer to the kids that we couldn't ever do before. We will also have permanent storage places that we didn't have before."
The program is licensed by the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services and the staff of nine coordinators, teachers and assistant teachers meet all teacher qualification standards, said Director Sherry Ward who has been with Extended Day for 13 years. "It's a great program and staff," she said. Pleased with the plans for the new home she added, "There will be a place to display students' art work and space for long-term projects. We also hope to have a homework room."
Kindergartners arrive at the program after school at noon and stay until either 3 or 6:15 p.m., while students in grades 1-6 arrive either at 2 or 3 p.m. and stay until 6:15 p.m. The program also operates on teacher professional days and on school half-days to provide coverage for parents. Extended Day also runs a before-school program at the Carlisle School and plans to continue that program at the school in the mornings.
At the after-school program, students now have several choices of activities each day such as outside play or a craft project. There is also quiet time each day when everyone in the building must be quiet, either doing homework or reading. An after-school snack is also provided daily. The older students have a clubhouse, a room where only they can go to do homework, listen to CDs, or just "hang out." Barnett said she would like to see the after-school program extended up to the seventh grade. One of the nice things about Extended Day, she said, is that kids can see their friends after school, and children of different ages sometimes play together, as in a game of basketball.
The program will also continue to oversee transportation. After school each day, teachers from the program check the students who are attending Extended Day onto a school bus and then check the students in again when they arrive at the program. Extended Day purchased a van to transport children either to or from other after-school programs, such as tennis and music lessons held at the school, but would like to have more programs on-site so students won't need to travel.
Coordinating with the RecCom
Extended Day would like to offer different kinds of classes than the town recreation commission so the two programs can be complementary, said Barnett. The parent group has also had discussions with RecCom about the possibility of holding recreation classes at the new Extended Day facility if there is enough space. RecCom chair Carol Peters said, "We are delighted about the opportunity. Many programs need larger spaces, such as adult exercise classes and toddler and preschool activities." The recreation department is considering offering this type of program at the Extended Day facility during morning hours when the building would not be in use.
Waiting list in the past
The Extended Day Program was full and had a waiting list until recently because of space limitations. One year, there was a lottery for new families who wanted to attend. The program fills each year without any advertising and has an open house for new parents each spring. Barnett explained that many other area towns offer after-school programs as a town service, such as Concord's Recreation Department programs.
"Over the past three years, the program has grown significantly," said Barnett "I'm sure it will continue to expand because there's a growing demand in town. Generally, children attend because their parents work full or part-time, with some students attending for two or three days instead of five." Of the proposed new classes to be offered after school, Barnett says "It would be nice to appeal to a broader range of parents and children. Our mission is to serve the kids in town."
Dr. Schneebaum, who is still living in Carlisle, says of the new owners of
his home "It's fabulous to think of kids enjoying it. I think all the plans for Extended Day will take the program to a new level."
For more information on the Extended Day Program call Sherry Ward, Director, at 369-5558.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito