School Age Child Care

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Arranging child care for school-age children presents a difficult set of challenges for working families. Although the time a child spends in school provides a supervised environment for a significant number of hours each day while parents work, many families experience "gaps" between these hours and parental work hours. The different types of care used to fill these gaps and the amount of time children spend in care vary widely across families and reflect a number of socioeconomic, demographic, and contextual factors. In addition, different out-of-school care arrangements can assist in keeping school-age children safe, provide oversight to ensure that they avoid high-risk behaviors, or, conversely, put children at risk of physical injury, emotional harm, or poor social and intellectual development.

The environment at a school age care should be comfortable and home-like. School-agers are larger than young children and take up more space inside as well as on the playground or in the bus. The space for a school-age program is extremely important and children need to help create their space. Children need different environments to accommodate their different moods and activities.

The NSACA Standards for Quality School-Age Care has suggested the following suggestions to assist school-age care providers set up an appropriate and inviting environment for school-agers.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,