Preparing for the School Year – by Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry

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Has the first week of school always been this hectic, or is it just me?Manassas Park Parks and Recreations School Age Recreation Specialist Jacquelyn-Tyre Perry

Not only am I running around getting my own kid ready and off to school, but I’m also preparing for all the Extended Care kiddos! With COVID affecting our normal operation last school year, it has been bittersweet preparing to have the kids back. There’s just something about knowing I’m going to walk down the hallway and see them working on homework or enjoying a game of UNO in their classrooms.

Don’t get me wrong, I get excited for my kid to go back to school just as much as the next parent. However, preparing for the incoming of 50 Extended Care kids is a whole other undertaking. Thankfully I have a team that makes the task feel seamless!

I think everyone’s favorite part of the preparation process is programming. My classroom staff comes up with craft and game ideas, as well as other fun activities for the kids to do throughout the year. Of course, this requires the assistance of Pinterest. (Because who doesn’t love Pinterest?) They filter through ideas based on their age group and the skill level needed for the activity, then make a list of the supplies needed and I do the ordering.

Because we have heightened cleaning protocols in place and are taking other precautions to ensure all the students stay safe, our supply orders have looked a little different this year. I think I ordered just as much hand sanitizer as I did glue! We like to keep kid’s masks on hand in case a student forgets one. We’re also providing each student with their own individual bag of supplies to cut down on sharing items that can’t be easily sanitized.

Once everything has been ordered, our next favorite part of the prep process comes into play. Unboxing and organizing. My staff look like kids on Christmas opening everything they put on their Christmas list. It usually gets the creative juices flowing for more craft and activity ideas once they start opening supplies that didn’t have a designated use yet. As far as organizing goes, they usually have a method to the madness. 😊

Despite all the not-so-fun and tedious parts of the preparation process, I’m grateful to be able to have the kids back in the building. Seeing all the new faces and hearing the kids’ footsteps throughout the building again give it a different feel. If you haven’t found an afterschool home for your kiddos yet, we still have spots left and would love to have your kids with us!

If you’d like more information about our Before and After School Care, feel free to contact me, or click here!

Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry is the School Age Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at J.Tyre-Perry@ManassasParkVA.gov

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