Childcare and Enrichment Programs

Registering for afterschool childcare or enrichment classes is a separate process from school registration. Following are some frequently asked questions to help you through this process.

ost_basketball.jpgWhere can I learn about options for out of school time (after school, school vacations, weekends, etc.)
Below are just a few of the providers who work closely with Cambridge Public Schools. For a more comprehensive list, the DHSP Resource Guide contains the most extensive list of childcare and enrichment programs, conveniently organized by neighborhood.

If you need to apply for a childcare voucher, or need to locate a licensed childcare provider (for instance a private childcare agency or home-based daycare provider), please contact Child Care Choices of Boston. This service used to be offered by the Childcare Resource Center in Cambridge (CCRC), but CCRC has now closed.

When should I sign up for afterschool childcare?
If you are looking for care 5 days per week from the end of the school day until 6, early release days, and vacation weeks, it is recommended that you sign your child up as far in advance as possible, even if your child has not yet been assigned to a school.

Although getting on a waiting list ahead of time is ideal, most programs require a non-refundable deposit. At the latest, it’s a good idea to enroll your child soon after you have been notified of his or her school assignment.

How will my child get from school to my childcare provider?
Programs located within or close to an elementary school usually have a system for walking students from their dismissal location to the location of the afterschool program. Families who qualify for the bus may fill out an “afternoon bus form” to request that their child be dropped off at a different location than where they are picked up, as long as the babysitter or program provider can meet the child at the bus stop.

Some families who do not qualify for the morning bus may still be eligible for an afternoon bus based on the address of their afterschool program, babysitter or childcare provider. For more information on eligibility contact Tina Fisher at 617.349.6862.

What are Out-of-School-Time Programs and Community Schools programs?
“Out-of-School-Time programs” is the umbrella term for activities offered to students outside of their regular school day, including afterschool, school vacation weeks, weekends, and summer break. Families looking for afterschool childcare sometimes turn to out of school time programs not designed as comprehensive childcare, such as enrichment classes.

ost_garden.pngFor instance, classes offered by the DHSP Community Schools Program are a popular option because they are conveniently held within school buildings and families may register after the start of the school year. Community Schools provide three semesters of enrichment classes at each of our twelve elementary schools during the school year. Full day summer camps and vacation programs are also offered at Community School sites.

Brochures and registration information for enrichment classes that work closely with your child’s school will be sent home in your his or her backpack. Families with greater flexibility may find that enrichment classes can cover their childcare needs, while other families may find that they need to find a program with fewer gaps in the schedule.

How much do afterschool programs cost?
The fees for afterschool programs vary and will be affected by whether you are eligible for a subsidy, and whether that comes in the form of a state voucher, a state subsidized slot, or a program scholarship. If you are paying full tuition for a five day a week slot, the cost is typically in the range of $400/month. Subsidies and scholarships are usually determined by a family income assessment process.

At what age will my child be eligible for childcare or an afterschool program?
Most out of school time providers, including DHSP programs, are licensed by the state to provide childcare or enrichment classes to students who are at least 4.5 years old in September, scheduled until 5:30PM. DHSP programs at Tobin Montessori are licensed to serve children as young as 2.9 in enrichment and summer programs that end by 1pm. You can learn more by contacting programs directly.

What options are available for students with disabilities or special needs?
DHSP has a number of options that are appropriate for students who may need special services or accommodations in order to access out-of-school-time programs. For more information on the DHSP Inclusion Initiative, contact Nicole Horton at 617.349.6200.

Afterworks (Central Square)
Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool
Cambridge Community Center (Cambridgeport/Riverside)
Cambridge YMCA (Central Square)
Cambridgeport School Afterschool
Center for Families
Community Art Center (School Age Program and Teen Media Program)
Community Schools Enrichment Programs (Located within schools)
DHS After-school Childcare
Dragonfly Afterschool Program (Graham & Parks)
DHS Youth Centers
East End House (next to Kennedy-Longfellow)
Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House

For More Information
2014 Fall Middle Grade (6th-8th) Out-of-School Time Opportunities Resource Guide
CPS Athletic Teams
Student Organizations
Childcare Choices of Boston (manages the childcare voucher program and provides childcare referrals to Cambridge families)
Cambridge Somerville Resource Guide  (searchable database that includes most out of school time providers)
Summer Opportunities

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