Now that the Chicago Teachers are on strike for a third day, which can seem like a million years for parents who have to work and find alternative care. What can parents do to make sure their kids are safe and will still have a productive day?
This is a crucial time where parents need a plan. Kids need structure and leaving kids unsupervised should not be the answer. It is fact, that moms and dads will have to find alternative care for their children while this strike continues. It should also be advised that they find a plan longer than a week or two since this may or may not end soon. It always better to be prepared for the worse so you are not left scrambling again.
The working parent:
Need a place to for your kids to go so you can still work? Take advantage of the Chicago Public Schools’ back-up plan. You can register your children with Chicago Public Schools Children First sites here: www.cps.edu/childrenfirst. There will be 144 designated sites are open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. These CPS children first sites are fully staffed and the kids will be provided breakfast and lunch along with some constructive activities.
Sign up on the web: www.cps.edu/childrenfirst If you don’t have access to a computer call 311 or register your child at your local library. When registering your child make sure you have their student I.D. number. You will need it in order to register.
Parents who need more than a half-day can look into some additional safe havens. There will be churches, the Chicago park districts, Chicago public libraries and community organizations that will be providing longer hours of care. Click hereto find out where.
What are some things you can do if you are a stay at home mom or dad?
You don’t want tour child to think this is vacation time, so this is a great opportunity to get them reading, doing activities that will incorporate something constructive.
For younger kids (elementary):
- Reading a story minimum 30 minutes a day accompanied by a question and answer period about the story. Talk about the main objectives, who what where, when and why?
- If you have to run errands use it as real life teachable moments. Like, going to the post office. Discuss the entire transaction and why? Or when you go to the grocery store, let the kids get an idea of how much things cost and if you hand the teller money have them do the math to see how much you will get back.
- Home school sites also have an array of activities where you can print out math, history, reading and science worksheets. Education.com will allow you to print out worksheets for free for all ages.
Older Kids (Middle School/H.S.)
- Older Kids who are able to stay home alone can be taught responsibility, create to do lists for them, doing their daily chores, reading and then writing about what they read.
- Purchase workbooks (according to age/grade level) for them to complete daily.
- Check in on them periodically to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. If they do what they are supposed to do, create a reward system. Take them to get ice cream or to their favorite restaurant, something they may like in order to encourage good behavior.
Online Education Options for High School Senior:
- In order for our Seniors to not fall off-track for college, Seniors will be eligible to continue their studies via online coursework in credit recovery, Advanced Placement (AP) or non-credit bearing General Elective classes.
- Seniors that begin a course may continue the course after the CTU strike is over.
- CPS has also developed a Parent Resources guide with links to age-appropriate online educational resources for non-Seniors.
- Seniors should register for online courses at www.cps.edu/cpsseniorsonline. Upon verification of senior status and eligibility, students will be issued login-credentials and instructions by email to access online courses. Parents, students and site staff should monitor each student’s work and progress via electronic reporting and an online portal (via cps.edu)
Recreational Activities families can participate in may include:
- A field Trip To the Library
- A field trip to the park
- A trip to a museums or the aquarium
- Talk with other moms so you can get kids together to do these activities
- Older kids, can go to movies, play pick up games at the local rec center
Is your kid business minded?
This is a great opportunity for all kids to explore their entrepreneur spirit:
- Car washing, walk dogs, artist (free time to write and draw)
- Turn chores into cash (laundry service, lawn service, pet sitting)
Using this as a guideline, I hope parents can get started creating ways to make the best of this situation and their kids can have a productive time away from school. I also hope this strike ends soon and both sides can come to an agreement, so teachers can get back to doing what they do best, teach.