Bloomington-Normal YMCA offering parents another option for childcare

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — As District 87 and Unit 5 school districts opt for remote learning in the fall, parents now have another option for childcare.

The Bloomington-Normal YMCA is offering “Y Academy” aimed at establishing connections between students, teachers, and families while supporting elementary school kids with e-learning.

Sarah Tunall, director of youth and development, said the nonprofit is partnering with Unit 5 and in talks with District 87 about the program.

“We want to be a place that is safe, secure, and sanitized where kids can excel socially, emotionally, and academically,” Tunall said.

She said the program will function as a normal school day, Monday-Friday, with time to work on e-learning and extracurricular activities such as dance, music, art, Spanish, and physical education.

“We’ll have community time that they’ll do some social and emotional and some physical wellness,” Tunall said. “Then we’ll go into e-learning units, so they’ll have three e-learning units throughout the day with water breaks and snack breaks scheduled in between. And then they have an opportunity for enrichment rotation.”

She said with some parents returning to work and others not being able to supervise children all day, they wanted to offer additional options to help families as needed.

“We know that there are families that have no other choice but to have childcare for their kids during this time,” Tunall said. “So knowing that we have families on all ends of the spectrum who just need extra support for their kids and that parents need extra support is where [the program] kind of arose out of.”

Tunall said they’ll never deny anyone the opportunity to participate so price shouldn’t be an obstacle.

“If they’re looking at costs and are like ‘I can’t do this’ if you need it, we are here for you,” Tunall said. “I will work with anyone and everyone who needs assistance to be able to have a safe, secure, and structured space for their child during this crazy season.”

Drop-offs are advertised as early as 6:45 a.m. for the full-time program and 7:30 a.m. for part-time. Pickups are advertised as late as 5:30 p.m. for full-time and 2:20 p.m. for part-time.

Y Academy starts Monday, Aug. 24.

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