Golden Apple: Kids & Company Provides Activities When School Is Out In Bemidji
School is out for conferences today for the Bemidji School District, so where do parents send their kids during the day? For many of them, it’s all about the Kids and Company after school program.
“Kind of the way it works is, it’s just a quality after school program for kids to come after and have homework help, to hang out with their friends, a safe quality spot for kids to enjoy their afternoon while their parents are still working,” says Andrew Lesch, the program coordinator for Kids and Company.
Kids and Company is housed at all eight of the Bemidji Area Elementary schools during the school week. On days the district have off, all the activities move to the middle school. The program hosts a variety of activities throughout the day, so kids have a lot of options.
Lesch says, “They come in, they get checked in and then there are little free choice based activities such as arts and crafts, gym time, reading, and then they go into groups where they do group games and then they get the option to go swimming and then it’s lunch, and then after lunch it’s usually a field trip or a movie on sight and then free choice based activities in the afternoon until pick-up.
700 kids are registered with kids and company. During the school year, the numbers of kids vary depending on which school and which day it is. During the summer, Kids and Company serves more than 200 students.
“Summer’s going to be a lot more fun this year. We’re going to try to do a little bit more field trips and get more kids voice in and child involvement into the program so that they kind of want to do what they want to do. So yeah, that’s kind of exciting things that are coming up,” says Lesch.
Kids and Company also works with the schools and building staff to determine their needs for each program day. Today, kids ran from 7:45 in the morning until 5:45 at night. Parents love it for the convenience.
Lesch says, “I think they just like the fact that we’re involved in all aspects of the community. We’re readily available so it’s very easy for parents and kids to transition into our program from after school, and even in the summer we’re housed in sites they’re familiar with and that they feel safe in.”