Learning doesn’t stop at the afternoon bell in Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich residents (left to right) Rhan Veppala, 7, his twin brother Sohan, and their friend Shruti Kotha, 6, play on the Isaac Fox Elementary School playground Aug. 27 during YMCA after-school programs.| Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 3:18PM
LAKE ZURICH — If one week back at school hasn’t provided enough learning and fun, students in all grade levels across Lake Zurich don’t have to go home when the afternoon bell sounds.
After the Labor Day holiday, the Foglia YMCA will begin offering before and after school programs, some of which will be taking place in a renovated space in the YMCA building on Old McHenry Road.
Senior program director Bonnie Caputo said the remodeled space will be used on weekday afternoons from 3 to 7:30 p.m. for a teen program. The space features two rooms. One for studying, which has six computers and an iPad, and one with a television and an Xbox.
“That’s more of just a hang out area,” Caputo said. “It’s great that they have an area that’s their own.”
For teenagers, Caputo said, the after school program has less structure than some of the programs for younger children. Teens can use the space after school to get homework help, play games, use the gym and pool, or just hang out with friends.
“They do like the freedom to choose what they want to do,” Caputo said. “We’ve found that for that age group, structure is not the thing they’re looking to have.”
Caputo added that the Ela Township Youth and Teen Club, which reaches District 95 middle school students, will also have access to the renovated space.
“That club has grown leaps and bounds,” said Caputo, adding that enrollment is up by 15 percent this year. “They can be with their friends and be supervised.”
Caputo said safety is the main concern for staff at the YMCA, and an age appropriate staff-to-child ratio is always maintained.
Jenna Stanonik, childcare director at the local YMCA, added that the renovated space also will be used to run its Kindergarten Enrichment Program during mornings and early afternoons. Because District 95 offers half-day kindergarten, many working parents need the after school care, she explained.
The staff members try to come up with new learning options every year for the kindergarten program, Stanonik said.
“We try to adjust it a little,” she said, explaining that there is a new art class this year in which the children create their own art based on books by Dr. Seuss and other children’s authors.
“They look at the illustrations and different techniques,” Stanonik said.
The Kindergarten Enrichment Program is run in morning and afternoon sessions to correspond with District 95’s kindergarten schedules.
Stanonik said the YMCA also offers several preschool classes for younger children.
Additional before and after school programs for first- through fifth-grade students are offered by the YMCA, but take place at the Lake Zurich district’s six elementary schools.
“We’re very lucky to have such a good relationship with the district,” Stanonik said, adding that the collaboration has made childcare more seamless for Lake Zurich parents, too.
“We’ve melded the program with the district,” she said. “It makes it so much easier.”