ALBANY — Taylor Joseph wrinkled her brows in concentration as she painted her “kitty cat” at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany Thursday, carefully dabbing her white-coated brush over the Styrofoam as her mask barely clung to the five-year-old’s face.
Taylor had already finished her math and science remote classes earlier in the morning — now it was time for art.
She was partaking in the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area’s new full-day program, which launched last week at the Troy and Albany locations to help students adapt to remote learning.
“We’re trying to fill the gaps with some parents that really need child care, that really can’t allow their kids to be home, or their kids need guided instruction,” said David Gordon, program manager and lyricism coordinator. “Along with virtual, you just need a third body to make sure they understand how to get online, how to do their assignments, all the different platforms they have to get on to complete assignments.”
Maurice Williams, a teacher and counselor that aids the children throughout their remote school day, said younger ones have a particularly hard time staying still and focused for longer class periods.
To learn more about Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area’s new full-day program in Albany and Troy go to https://www.bgccapitalarea.org/about-us or call (518) 462-5528
“The older kids seem like they’re adapting well, but the younger ones, their attention span is tough,” Williams said.
Gesturing to five-year-old Taylor, who at that point was laying flat on her stomach on a chair, Williams added, “I gotta sit with her the whole class, because she’s getting up, she’s rolling around.”
Williams had just wrapped up playing a WWE game on the PlayStation 4 with Taylor’s brother, 10-year-old Krishna Massey. It was time to let loose, after a morning of classes — thought it wasn’t all bad.
“I love math, math is the most easiest subject ever,” he said. “I’m used to (the technology).”
The majority of the children the clubs cater to — particularly with the full-day program — are underserved, with 90 percent on free and reduced lunches and a number of them from single-parent homes, Gordon said. But even with two-parent households, guiding a child through remote learning can be nearly impossible with parents’ work schedules.
There is also an after-school program that runs until 5:30 p.m., offering kids activities such as lyricism, outdoor sports and a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) room.
The full-day program could hold up to about 75 children, Gordon said, and parents can apply online. Children are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We’re not being selective, we’re just being cautious,” Gordon said.
In addition to wearing masks and taking temperatures for every person who enters the Delaware Avenue building, they pose a questionnaire to ensure there was no possible exposures to COVID-19.
“We want to make sure that people know that we’re here for child care,” Gordon said.