Area programs keep students busy after school
Early Care and Preschool Academy teacher Tom Antosz (far left) works with students Aug. 21 at the John V. Leigh School building in Norridge. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:18AM
NORRIDGE — After-school activities abound for Norridge and Harwood Heights students.
Two options are programs offered by the Norridge Park District and the Salvation Army Norridge Citadel.
Serving the area for more than 20 years, the park district program provides care from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Early Care and Preschool Academy at Leigh School, 8151 W. Lawrence Ave. in Norridge, Academy Superintendent Christine Szymanski said.
One after-school class caters to kindergartners and first graders, while the other is for second to sixth graders.
In addition to providing homework help, the district offers recreational options, such as games and Nintendo Wii, as well as computer access and Leigh School’s playground.
For parents in need of before-school services, the academy provides board games, drawing and computer use as well as space for schoolwork. The district also serves breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
Because of its long-term relationship with area schools, the academy tailors its programs to provide services on school holidays and teacher in-service days, Szymanski said.
For the before-school program, parents drop off their children and the academy brings them to school via its buses. The routine reverses after school, with the district transporting participants from their various schools, parents picking up their children at the academy.
The Salvation Army Norridge Citadel provides a program that runs from 2:30-6 p.m. and includes snacks.
Many participants come from Pennoyer and Leigh schools in Norridge and Dirksen School in Chicago, Youth Ministries Director Jeff Rowland said.
“We try to adapt to meet the needs of the community,” Corps Officer Capt. Brian Davis said. “We look at it as a way of building a bridge to the community.
“At the after-school program, we try to continue the education process, but without trying to extend the school day.”
The organization sets aside four rooms at its building at 8354 W. Foster Ave. for its after-school programs.
“We pick the kids up from school,” he said. “Or we’ll walk, weather permitting.”
In addition to organized activities, such as recreational programs in the gymnasium, games and arts and crafts, the organization provides daily specials, Rowland said.
“We have quilting and tae kwon do on Mondays; piano on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cheerleading on Fridays,” he said. “We also have other fun activities on Fridays for those who aren’t interested in cheerleading.”
New this year is a computer lab, with five laptops and tutoring.
One of the perks of the program is the weekly lesson plans staff prepares, so parents know in what activities their children are engaged.
“We like to have that partnership,” Rowland said. “The big thing is, it’s a nurturing, safe environment open to all regardless of religious affiliation.”
Additional information for the Norridge Park District program is available by visiting www.norridgepk.com or calling (708) 457-1244; for the Salvation Army Norridge Citadel program, visit www.salvationarmynorridge.org or call (708) 456-6220.