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SFB child care is a leap of faith

News Graphic - 5/19/2017

A bout 15 years ago, the staff at St. Francis Borgia Catholic School began to realize that their students' parents had a real unmet need for appropriate before-and after-school child care.

It was something they heard "loud and clear" from their parent community, said SFB principal Kelly Swietlik. "Research was begun as to what we could potentially offer here and how could we do it," she said. "We got parents and formed a committee, looked at all our options ? and then we took a leap of faith."

Fifteen years later, the leap of faith has paid off. Although the SFB Childcare/Extended Care began small and on a trial basis, today the program is thriving with about 100 children registered. The staff of seven (plus two high school after-school helpers) supervise on average 60 to 70 kids per day, around 30 at one time, in the child care room at the parish's Education and Activities Center, 1425 Covered Bridge Road.

The child care options offered are as diverse as the student populations themselves, said Swietlik. "We have everything ? we have a lot of our own students that come before and go to aftercare, we have some that just go to aftercare, we also have our 3-and 4-year-olds in preschool, and we also have several public school students who are dropped off by their parents in the morning and then picked up by whatever bus goes to their public school," she said.

Families pay by the hour, with options for contract and noncontract fees. Noncontract fees work on an as-needed basis, allowing families to access child care on short notice and without any commitment. The cost is $5.50 per contracted hour and $6 per non-contracted hour, plus a $25 registration fee. The non-contract hours are an especially popular option, said Swietlik, especially as families become more transient and don't necessarily live near relatives and other support systems.

Prior to the completion of the Education and Activities Center in 2015, SFB child care was located in the lower level of the rectory near the historic South Church on Hamilton Road. The program has grown with the newer, more modern facility. "The children are able to have their own playground, we serve hot lunch during the school year and we've increased our programming," said Swietlik.

One of the distinguishing aspects of the program is the fact that it is offered year-round, she added. When summer comes and school lets out, it's "summer camp" time at SFB child care ? with activities like light academics, art projects, gardening and daytrips. "We have some children whose parents are maybe home during the summer but they just want to, say, go to the gymnastics academy, so their parents sign them up for the day we're going there," she said.

Though Swietlik said that the va l u e s -b a s e d e nv i ro n m e n t offered at SFB is a main selling point for the child care program, students do not have to be parishioners ? or Catholic ? to enroll. All children aged 3 (potty-trained) through eighth grade are eligible for registration. The hours of operation during the school year are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer.

For more information, visit www.sfbschool.org/pages/St__Francis_Borgia_School or

contact director Sharon Nead at 262-377-4990 or neads@sfbschool.org.

 
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