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updated: 8/11/2011 4:01 PM

U-46 offers SAFE place for kids to hang out

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For parents and guardians of elementary school students in Elgin Area District U-46, there's a program offering an alternative to expensive child care or leaving children home alone while you work or go to school.

The district is again offering SAFE -- Supervised Activities For Children of Employed Parents. So the acronym doesn't fit exactly, but the title accurately describes the program.

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SAFE is open to students currently enrolled in U-46 from kindergarten to the sixth grade. It offers parents a safe place to leave their children while they work or attend educational classes. Parents must be working or attending classes for their children to be eligible for the program.

A list of available sites can be found at u-46.org and searching for SAFE. Not all schools offer the program. At sites where morning SAFE is available, the program runs from 6:30 a.m. to the start of school. In the afternoon, students can stay until 6 p.m.

While attending SAFE, students will have the opportunity to participate in organized games, arts and crafts projects, use computers or free choice activities. Homework assistance is also available, though students are not required to do homework. Children also have the opportunity to play outside or in the gymnasium.

A cold breakfast and afternoon snacks are provided.

On days when school is not in session, such as teachers' institute days, an all-day program is available at select schools. The program does not run during winter break, spring break or holidays.

The cost of the program is $11 per day for one child in the morning program. Additional students receive a 10 percent discount. Afternoon sessions are $16 per day per child and additional students also receive a 10 percent discount. All-day SAFE is $30 per day and additional siblings are discounted 10 percent.

Registration is open year-round and payments are due Fridays for the upcoming week.

To start the first week of school, registration must be submitted before noon on Friday, Aug. 19. Instructions and guidelines, registration forms and payment calendars are also available on the district's SAFE website.

For more information on the program, contact Mamie Carter, SAFE program director, at (847) 888-5000, ext. 6981.

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