After the School District of Washington announced it would begin the year in a hybrid learning model, some day care facilities are seeing an increase in demand for child care while other centers are changing their business models to meet demand.
Courtney Riegel, owner of Puzzle Piece Early Learning Center, said she has noticed the increase in demand for child care during the week.
“We have only had three additional/new children enrolled in the center,” Riegel said. “But the children that normally leave us and go to kindergarten have stayed.”
She said that 10 kindergarten-aged children have stayed at the center this year and attend on their “off days” from school.
Puzzle Piece offers before- and after-care for school-aged children, but those slots have been taken up by students enrolled in full-time day care during the week. The center does not assist with e-learning.
The center is currently at full capacity for school-aged children and there is no waiting list for the facility Riegel said.
Local gymnastics center Fitness Made Fun has created an e-learning camp for parents who need child care, according to owner Nadiana Peck.
The fitness center announced its camp shortly after the School District of Washington announced its decision on hybrid learning.
“We are doing the e-learning camp because we saw the need (for day care and help with virtual learning) and most of us have degrees in education,” Peck said.
The camp, which began last week, is for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, and the slots for the camp are already full.
Fitness Made Fun currently offers full-day care from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and early care from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.
The e-learning camp is designed to help take the pressure of teaching children off of their parents, Peck said. “When the kids leave the camp at the end of the day, they don’t have to worry about schoolwork and can enjoy spending time with their families,” she said.
Melissa Mueller, child care director for the Four Rivers Family YMCA, said it has been difficult to determine if the facility has seen an increase at its location.
“Each year each site is different,” Mueller said. “Some years we just barely have 12 kids register at a specific Y Club site, while other years we are bursting at the seams.”
Mueller said the Four Rivers Family YMCA provides after-school care at three different school districts and serves 11 different schools. This year it is offering a new all-day Y Enrichment Program for those doing virtual learning.
The facility is licensed to care for children between the ages of 5 and 12.
All of the sites where Four Rivers Family YMCA offers care are at full capacity, she said.