HYDE PARK — With Chicago Public Schools starting the school year completely online, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club will replicate the school environment with an on-site “learning hub.”
Students from kindergarten through eighth grade will learn in socially distanced groups of ten, where a teacher and an aide will help kids with their virtual learning assignments.
The neighborhood club at 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. will also offer enrichment options to complement kids’ schoolwork.
Science kits through the Museum of Science and Industry, photography, gardening and outdoor recreation will be available. A writing and creative arts center will allow students to share their experiences living through the pandemic.
“This is not ‘simply’ child care,” development director Sarah Diwan said. “We know children learn best in a social environment and with guidance from trained professionals.”
The fee for the full-day hub is $325 a week, the same rate as the neighborhood club’s summer camp. The club recently began a $100,000 fundraising drive to offer sliding-scale scholarships for low-income parents and those who have lost work due to the pandemic.
Registration opens Friday and is open to all. A total of 40 students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Twenty spots will be reserved for families who require a scholarship. Working parents receiving Illinois Action for Children funds can also use the child care subsidy toward the hub’s fees.
“We want to make sure that our offering is available to people who are unable to heed this serious new burden of having to pay for a healthy and safe learning environment,” Diwan said.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided through the Greater Chicago Food Depository and other food distribution centers. Every hour, students will receive a 15-minute break from schoolwork.
The club’s ongoing summer camp has been “a great opportunity for us to test our model and ensure that the classroom space is really working out for ten kids and two teachers,” she said.
Thirty kids have enrolled for the summer camp, and no attendees or staffers have contracted coronavirus, according to Diwan.
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