By Jennifer Niggemeier, Waukesha program coordinator
Since 1974, Wisconsin Youth Company has partnered with schools in Dane and Waukesha Counties to provide safe, fun spaces for children after school. Our After School programs have strong relationships with the school staff creating positive environments for staff to assist children with any school-related projects and assignments. It is important for both parties to work together to reinforce values and learning opportunities provided because the children need to know they are always supported.
There are a few key methods to connecting and building working relationships with schools. First, is being aware of the school’s vision for learning and development, and how WYC can connect those visions with its mission. For example, WYC After School program has partnered with Summit View Elementary since 1998. The school has guidelines for young children to follow which are “Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible and Be Respectful.” The before and after school program uses these values consistently. This is especially helpful for 4K and kindergartners because it allows them to focus on the same set of guidelines while engaging in other activities.
WYC further displays fostering relationships by collaborating with school staff. Cushing Elementary has shown the benefits of communicating together for the children to be successful. For example, a Cushing Elementary physical education teacher and the after school staff have worked together this year on improving sportsmanship with the children. They use positive verbal cues such as, “Good job! Nice Try!” (instead of “You’re out! I won! You Lost!”). Using the same dialogue has encouraged the children to display positive sportsmanship throughout the school day and beyond.
After School Magee program has worked hard on maintaining strong communication with families, community, and the school. Every year the school and its after school program hold continuous annual events on the same days (i.e. Grandparents Night and Spring Fair). This makes it easy for families to attend and gives staff opportunities to show support — along with building professional bonds.
WYC also partners with Swallow Elementary and Merton Elementary in Waukesha County. WYC has collaborated with the schools to make for a seamless 4K wrap transition for the children. This helps to ease children into their daily school routine without the fears and tears of nervousness.
Wisconsin Youth Company prioritizes its relationships with school staff to work together creating positive and welcoming environments for children. Through years of building strong relationships between both schools and after school programs, we have created environments that encourage children to be their best selves and develop skills they can use outside of the school day. Wisconsin Youth Company looks forward to continuing to build strong partnerships with our current and future schools.