With more school districts transitioning to a four-day school week, camp and after-school programs have an opportunity to step up and serve families in a big way by offering “day five” programming. Think of this sort of programming as a camp or childcare that is only offered on Fridays when school is out of session.
While revenue and profit potential may vary depending on setup and location, pivoting to meet community needs can have other big benefits. Below, we outline three reasons why providing day five programming can help your program and your community.
You Already Have the Tools
After-school programs and camps already have staff screening processes, safety protocols, and enrichment activities that can guarantee kids have an appropriate and enriching place to go on day five while their parents are at work. If you’re currently running after-school programs or camp, you’re about 95% of the way there in terms of starting a new and high-quality program for day five! As other options become available, after-school programs have the opportunity to stand out with their professionalism, plans, and community.
Plus, having kids just once a week for a full day has a lot of potential from a programming standpoint. Kids are coming into the space refreshed since they haven’t already been there for a full week, meaning your plans feel fresh each time they arrive. With this freshness, kids are more likely to be engaged and enthusiastic. Plus, the full-day schedule gives a lot of opportunity for deeper projects compared with after-school programs: In after-school, by the time you do snack and homework, it’s often time for kids to go home. With day five programming, you can really get into more elaborate activities, whether it’s a game, special project, or field trip.
It Strengthens Your Connection to Families—and Helps With Retention
Providing day five programming increases your touchpoints with families. This helps you get to know them better, which puts you at the forefront of their minds when they make other childcare and summer activity decisions.
And, at the risk of sounding a little cliche, if you don’t do it, someone else will. Most families like easy, and the childcare provider that can fill the most needs is often the easiest. Make your families' lives easier by giving them day five programming and see them keep coming back for their rest of their family’s needs—summer camp, youth sports, tutoring, and more.
You Can Be a Community Hero
While more school districts are choosing a four-day school week, many employers are not following suit or able to do so. Caregivers will likely still have to work on that fifth day, leaving a big void for childcare.
Let’s face it: Without day five programming from community providers, many kids will be at home, alone, and in front of the TV or playing video games all day. Kids absolutely need a safe place to go when they are not in school—one with caring adults who will help them be safe, have fun, and continue to develop.
Can you imagine the stress so many parents and other caregivers must be under when they hear their children will only have school four days a week, but they have to work for five? Then, imagine the relief they would feel hearing that you have a solution to help with this problem. It is an offer of help they will never forget.
Sometimes, starting something new can be daunting. However, if you are already running a summer camp and/or an after-school program, you have an exceptional opportunity to build on those offerings with day five programming. You will not just get the chance to potentially bring in more revenue—you’ll get the chance to make a difference. It could be worth it to take the chance!