As school districts across Northeast Ohio adapt to the pandemic, many parents may be left wondering how a virtual or hybrid week of at-school classroom instruction and at-home online learning will impact their family and schedule.
Great Lakes Science Center’s new Learning Lab program is designed to support working parents who need daytime childcare for their school-age children. According to GLSC, the program provides a safe, supportive environment where children can do their schoolwork virtually.
“Learning Lab is school-day support for families, like a bridge between the classroom and home,” said Vice President of STEM Learning Scott Vollmer. “Parents are facing significant challenges as they manage new schedules and expectations for their children’s education. With the Learning Lab, we’re looking to ease that worry by offering a safe, supportive alternative.”
The Science Center has designed the program to be appropriate for school-age children who will spend part of their day participating in school virtually or doing homework. The STEM Learning team will facilitate the day, providing an experience that is more social and structured than what might be typically offered in childcare.
“The Learning Lab will be much closer to a typical day in the classroom,” Vollmer said. “We will provide children with the supports of a school day — an educator to facilitate the work provided by their school, workspace, Internet access, a lunch break, and supervised, outdoor recess.”
There also will be fun, “non-screen,” STEM-related activities when there is downtime from their online school work, with opportunities to meet new friends and to experience social and emotional growth.
Complete health and safety measures for the program are available at greatscience.com. The program requires a daily wellness check and masks for children and staff. Social distancing measures will be in place with small class sizes and ample spacing between work stations. Children will be supported to maintain proper mask hygiene and frequent hand washing.
The program is open to children in kindergarten through eighth grade, and registration begins Wednesday, July 29 at greatscience.com. Opening day is Monday, August 24 and the program will initially run through December 22. The Learning Lab is available Monday through Friday, with drop-off available 7:30-9 a.m. and pick up from 2:30-3:30 p.m. After-care from 3:30-5:30 p.m. will be available for an additional fee. Children may be registered for as little as one day per week and may vary their schedule week by week.
Children can bring a lunch, or order a boxed lunch in advance for $7.50 a day. The Learning Lab costs $59 per day, with a 10 percent discount for science center members. After-care will be available for an additional $15 per day.