Centers augment learning for Fort Sill children
August 16, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Fort Sill offers before and after-school care for children of all ages supplementing the in-school experience.
Those with little ones, ages 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten, can enroll their children in any of the post's three child development centers. Families with students in sixth through 12th grades will find everything they need at the Fort Sill Youth Center.
For those in between, the School Age Center serves students in first through fifth grades. Lindsay Ralston, school liaison officer for Fort Sill, will become the center's director when school opens. In addition to her liaison duties, Ralston taught first grade in the Lawton Public School system so she's acutely aware of education as it applies to children.
"I love kids seeing them everyday and being a part of their lives; to work with children again in a different capacity means so much to me," said Ralston, who will serve both functions until the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hires a new school liaison officer. "Especially being a military child, I can relate and be sympathetic and understanding to what military children go through."
She added most military families don't use the center for various reasons, such as Lawton schools provide care after the regular school day ends or there is a stay-at-home parent.
"We have openings and are always looking for new students," she said.
The School Age Center has an agreement with LPS to be the before- and after-school care facility for Geronimo Road Elementary and Sheridan Road Elementary schools students. Ralston said a second agreement with LPS can bus eligible students from any of the five off-post elementary schools in town to the center.
She touted the center's amenities and their ability to interest children. These include a gymnasium, computer lab, project room and game room. But, the center offers more than just things to do after school. Ralston said the center is accredited with the Army and a private organization, and the staff develops lesson plans for all rooms and activities.
"We have a curriculum we teach from so learning continues even after the regular school day ends. We help with homework and provide students with tips to help them prepare for tests," she said.
When schools close, either for the summer or fall, Christmas or spring break, the center holds a camp where students can stay engaged with the learning environment in a fun way.
"We believe our center offers students a wonderful opportunity to enhance their educational experience," said Ralston. "The lesson plan we work from is something most before- and after-school programs don't have.
"The staff here is excited to work with Fort Sill children, and we try to provide the best care possible," she said.
For more information about the school age center, call 442-5952.