Bluejays will soon have a new place to flock before and after school.
Lacey Koch and Katie Langner have announced the creation of the Jays Club Before and After School program, which will serve Seward elementary and middle school students.
Jays Club is privately owned by Koch and Langner, who have been friends for about 10 years. Koch co-owns the Cafe on the Square, and Langner is a home visitation specialist at the ESU 6/Sixpence, which helps guide parents on the healthy development of their children.
The two of them came up with the idea for the program over lunch and had the goal of filling the gap between the start/end of the school day and parents’ workdays. They said this has been a service the community has needed for a long time.
“We’re going to be that place where, when parents can’t get to school right away to pick up their kids, they have a good, safe place to be,” Koch said.
Langner said the program will incorporate activities designed to stimulate students’ social, emotional and physical needs, including outdoor play, indoor puzzles and games and reading.
“We feel this program will help build confidence, social skills and provide academic support while also building relationships,” Jays Club said on Facebook.
Along with the activities, the program will provide homework help and a snack after school. Koch said they also plan to incorporate goal-setting and gratitude practices before school to help motivate students.
“I’m very big on mindset activities – getting kids ready for the day in a positive manner,” she said.
In the mornings, school buses will shuttle fifth through eighth students from the elementary school, where Jays Club will meet, to the middle school. After the school day ends, they will bring the middle school students back to the elementary school for Jays Club.
The before and after school services will cost $75 per week, and there will be a one-time registration fee of $35 per child. The “before school” portion will run from 6 to 7:45 a.m., and the “after school” portion will run from 3:15 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, will mark the first day of the program.
“Even people whose kids are grown, they’ve reached out and said, ‘This is something Seward has needed for a very long time,’” Koch said.
Langner said she and Koch are looking forward to making a positive impact in the community, providing a nurturing environment for children and giving parents the much-needed option for before and after school care.
“We are always trying to find ways to better our community or offer services to the community,” Koch said. “Having it at the school will be a great stress reliever for the families because they’re dropping their kids off at school, they know where they’re at and they know where they’ll be when they get [off work].”
After announcing the launch of Jays Club, Langner said she and Koch were surprised by the supportiveness of the community's response.
“There’s been a huge positive response from the community with just the excitement of the program and how much of a need it’s going to fulfill,” Langner said.
The program is not affiliated with Seward Public Schools, but Seward Elementary is allowing Koch and Langner to contract the space.
Langner said the program was made possible with the support of the school board, Seward Elementary Principal Jessica Dominy and Jonathan Jank from the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership.
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