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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Local schools offer break activities

The Monroe County Community School Corporation now offers a program for elementary students where a day off can be a day of learning and fun.

The Break Days program, a collaboration between MCCSC and the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, allows kids to spend days when school isn’t in session at Rogers-Binford Elementary, where they can participate in a wide variety of activities.

“Several places offer programs for kids,” said Tim Pritchett, school age care director for MCCSC. “With our schedule changed and more breaks introduced in the school year, we wanted quality programming for the kids.

“The Parks Department has been running programs for years, and we’ve had a two-decade partnership with them,” Pritchett said. “This is just an extension of that partnership.”

Paula McDevitt, recreation services director at the Parks Department, said Break Days is a new take on an old program.

“We’ve offered Break Days for many years,” McDevitt said. “It’s modeled after our Kid City summer camp, but now it’s for the school year. What’s different is that we’re running it at Binford Elementary.”

The program runs throughout the school year. Days start at 7:30 a.m. and pick-up is 5:30 p.m. The first of 16 break days was on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

Twenty-seven students showed up, participating in arts, crafts and games, as well as taking a field trip to McCormick’s Creek State Park.

“We want to get kids out into the community to places they haven’t been before,” McDevitt said.

Amy Shrake, inclusive recreation coordinator for the Parks Department, said the activities vary widely.

“They are different each time,” Shrake said. “We take the kids on field trips, we have guests come in and other typical day camp activities.”

Both McDevitt and Pritchett expressed the value of working together on the program.

“Parks and Rec runs the programming, and we assist in promoting it,” Pritchett said. “We direct emailed parents, and we put the word out on Facebook and Twitter.”

McDevitt said there are many benefits to operating the program out of MCCSC.

“There’s definitely been an increase in participation from when we ran it out of our own facilities,” McDevitt said. “We’re estimating participation to increase further.”

Each day costs $35 for a student to participate, which includes the cost of snacks, field trips and other activities. Shrake said first-time participants have to register at the Parks Department main office.

“After they have a health form on file, parents can call in and register for certain days,” she said.

The next Break Day will be Friday, Oct. 11, with registration required a week in advance.

Shrake said the first Break Day went well, and that’s the goal.

“Hopefully the program will help parents with child care issues when they aren’t in school,” she said.

McDevitt said she hopes Break Days is an option parents look to on days off school.

“Our goal is to provide an alternative, programmed, structured day for kids,” she said. “We want Break Days to be an easy, accessible choice for parents when their kids are out of school.”

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