Child care centers preparing to help kids with virtual learning

SPOKANE CO., Wash. — Taking care of kids is what child care providers do best. They’re trying to step that up as the first day of school gets closer.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for them figuring out how to help kids with virtual learning.

“Especially in the times now, it is extremely important for kids to have a safe place to go to be fed, to be taken care of, to have someone there, because some families don’t have the option, and there are kids sitting at home trying to do this stuff by themselves,” said Megan Benedict, the owner of Into the Forest Learning Center.

Benedict took it upon herself, and her child care facility, to help kids as much as possible by opening up a day camp. They plan to have para-educators there helping up to 30 kids learn virtually. They will also provide kids breakfast and lunch. Even though the center is located in the Central Valley School District, Benedict says they’ll help any families in Spokane Valley.

Since announcing it on Facebook, Benedict says they’ve received a lot of responses.

“As soon as we have those packets rolling, I have a feeling we’re going to fill up pretty quickly, because every day we’re getting messages about it,” she said.

Benedict says they will also offer in-person kindergarten for families who are interested. It will be an addition to their programs at Into the Forest Learning Center.

“We’re wanting the community to have more options, more opportunity to give their kids the best chance that they can,” Benedict said.

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While she is opening up her own day camp to help kids, Parkview Early Learning Center is also trying to bring in some para-educators to help students. Owner Luc Jasmin has been in contact with Spokane Public Schools to try and make that happen.

“We don’t even know if we’ll have access to them, and if we don’t, it’s going to be even more impossible, which I don’t think is fathomable at this particular moment,” Jasmin said.

He’s been stressed, trying to figure out how to help their families. He said they’ve been fielding calls left and right for families who need a place to put their kids, but they can’t take them in.

They don’t have enough resources or spots to help them.

“Time after time, child care is asked to be there for the community,” he said.

They have been there, but it’s getting harder with more people in need, and not having enough spots to help.

“We need as many resources as possible to be able to help the kids that are here right now, but there are a lot of families that are hurting right now,” he said.

Jasmin said he’s also trying to bring counselors to help their kids in need. They also want to keep providing internet for families, but bandwidth is becoming an issue, and they are in need of help paying for an increase in services.

Both he and Benedict are trying their best to help kids continue to learn and get the kind of care they deserve.

For more information about Into the Forest’s day camp or kindergarten, visit their Facebook page here.

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