Above: Students participate in KidSpace's virtual learning program
During the school year, KleinLife runs KidSpace, a before- and after-school enrichment program for children in grades K-8. As the pandemic continued into the Fall, in-person learning through local school districts came to a halt, and families in the community were left with a void of where their children can go while parents and guardians went to work. KleinLife decided to expand its program to include a safe space for virtual learning to fill the need.
The program has been running for the past several weeks and is expected to continue until schools open for in-person learning. “We have over 50 children utilizing our space and activities,” mentions Colleen Lane, KidSpace director, “and we take great care in making sure they stay focused and safe.” Keeping in compliance with CDC guidelines and government standards, children have their temperatures checked while answering a brief health safety survey when they arrive outside at KleinLife. They are then taken to their assigned groups’ room to sign onto their computer with their teachers for the day. The groups of children are divided into separate rooms based on what school they attend with no more than 18 children per group. Each 10ft table has up to 3 children with personalized dividers that has their name and school schedule for their class.
“Throughout the day, all children and staff are required to wear their masks or a face shield,” Lane says. “Each room has multiple bottles of hand sanitizer and the children’s workspaces are disinfected several times a day. Our maintenance team is also constantly disinfecting and cleaning the rooms and hallways for us.”
After virtual learning concludes for the day, they enjoy fun activities such as baking, arts & crafts, and swim. “The kids have a relatively long day on their computers, so we make sure to give them brain breaks, time to relax their eyes, and ending the day with a different activity depending on the day of the week,” says Lane.
The Early Learning Resources Center (ELRC) formerly named CCIS helps make the program even more affordable for the families who need it. Lane mentions, “our drive to open is to serve members of our community and to help working parents during this difficult and unprecedented time.”