The Red Oak After School Program provides licensed after school child care for up to 160 children ages 5 to 13 during both the school year and summer in a multicultural and bilingual environment. The program runs from 3:00 pm to 6:15 pm during school days, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm during half days, and 8:30 am to 6:30 pm during school vacation weeks, professional days, and the summer.
The after school program is housed within the Josiah Quincy Elementary School (JQS), and works with JQS to best support those students who are participants in the after school program. BCNC has successfully collaborated with JQS to improve student success, support the healthy development of children and families, develop curricula, train staff, and engage and support families.
The program designs educational activities that align with the school curriculum and support children’s school success. Staff design and implement activities that promote children’s growth and character development and tie them into the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. BCNC reaches out to the increasing number of Asian American children with language and developmental delays, and those whose education is at-risk.
During the school year, children have time to complete their homework and receive homework help. This is important as most of our parents have limited English skills therefore are limited in their ability to help their children with homework. Volunteer tutors help children who encounter difficulty with their work. Bilingual staff is available to support children still acquiring English in understanding and using English both during homework and activity times.
Enrichment and recreation activities, including special interest clubs such as cooking, multicultural arts, book making, chess and Taiko drumming, are an integral part of the after school program. Children have 30 minutes of exercise each day throughout the school year, and more time during school vacation weeks and the summer.
During the summer, the program has academic sessions, themed activities, recreation, swimming, literacy and art activities, enrichment clubs, and field trips to museums, the zoo, beaches and parks, and historical places. A theme is used throughout the summer to enhance team building activities, enrichment and art activities. Children play games developed by Harvard University to enhance academic skills such as math skills, critical thinking and geographic awareness.
Understanding that parent involvement is one of the indicators of student success, BCNC works with JQS to reach out to parents through activities to promote family relationships including parent nights organized by grade level, social opportunities for families to connect with one another, Friday morning coffee hours, and family evenings with workshops or family activities offered throughout the year. BCNC also organizes bilingual workshops to help parents understand more about the Boston Public Schools, the importance of parent engagement, laws relating to special education, and how parents can use technology to support their children's learning.
Youth from BCNC’s Youth Center also provide mentoring to children in the after school program. Youth are trained and then matched with children. Together they read books and engage in activities.