Valley View offers care for kids during Thanksgiving - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Valley View offers care for kids during Thanksgiving

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Many students are giving thanks this week because they have the entire week off school for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Some of their parents, however, are wondering what to do with their children because they still have to work.

The Valley View School District has heard those concerns and has offered some help to working parents.

Teachers have made the district's Excel After School Program available to students basically year-round. They have reopened the elementary school until Wednesday, allowing parents to send almost 50 kids this year to a safe, secure place while they're at work.

"Parents would always love to be off every time their children are off," Christy Nelson, a pre-K teacher, said, "but that's just not possible."

When Valley View started the Excel program three years ago, teachers like Nelson have opted to make some more money during the holidays and keep kids that have nowhere else to go.

"I think that's a big relief for [parents] to know that when they do have to work, and they can't take off with their children like they would love to, that someone that does love their children and cares about them is there for them," Nelson said. "I think that's a good relief for them."

The after school program normally offers students academic help through tutoring and other academic enrichment, but the activities planned this week are all focused on fun.

"We've been playing games. We go to the computer lab, and they'll get to watch a movie," said Joyce Philamlee, a pre-K teacher. "We were hoping it would be nice where they could play outside, but it didn't cooperate."

"I was fortunate enough that I had family that lived here that could take care of [my children]," Nelson said, "but a lot of people are not that fortunate and they need that extra care for their children."

Valley View extends its after school program through other holiday breaks as well. In addition to Thanksgiving, parents can drop off their kids during certain times at Christmas and spring breaks.

"That's what Excel is all about," Nelson said, "trying to offer a home away from home for those children."

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