The Mashpee Recreation Department has decided against offering a new before- and after- school childcare program for Kenneth C. Coombs preschool students for the pending school year.
“We were trying to expand and be helpful with the new [school] start time but it wasn’t feasible,” said Mary Bradbury, director of the recreation department.
A Pre-K childcare program has not been offered by the town in previous school years.
The recreation department will still offer extended care for students from kindergarten through 6th grade.
The decision to not include preschool students came down to licensing, Ms. Bradbury said.
She explained that there are very specific state regulations concerning child care licensing and changes would have needed to have been made to the department’s current “school age” license to expand the program to preschool students.
Ms. Bradbury said she made several attempts to reach the state licensor to make the necessary changes but, with the school year looming, the licensing process could not be completed for the 2019-2020 school year.
“It was a more complex procedure to put in place than was workable at this time,” Ms. Bradbury said.
Earlier this year, Mashpee public schools put out a survey to explore whether parents would take advantage of a before and after school Pre-K program, Ms. Bradbury said.
“Mashpee Recreation was trying to collaborate and support the schools and provide an expanded service to our communities and families,” Ms. Bradbury said.
School start times have been pushed later into the mornings this year in an effort to improve the health and wellness of students. The Coombs Preschool day will run from 9:15 AM to 2:50 PM, the Mashpee public school’s website states.
In an email to parents and guardians, Mashpee Schools Superintendent Patricia DeBoer said, “The licensing issue, along with the number of school-age children already enrolled in before-after school childcare and a lack of adequate staffing, has led to this decision.”
Though the program will not be offered this year, “we’re not closing the door on it,” Ms. Bradbury said. A preschool child care program, she said, could be offered in future years.