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Caring for Pinellas County Kids: R'Club Child Care

By Heidi Mason

"There was and there still is a high need in the community for high quality, affordable child care," says Arthur O'Hara, Executive Director of R'Club Child Care, Inc. With locations across Pinellas County, R'Club has sought to fill that need. Its nonprofit status allows R'Club to provide high quality programs at affordable prices by utilizing grants, private funding bodies, charitable institutions, and individual donors.

For low-income families in particular, kindergarten readiness can be a big problem. Kids may not have access to the resources that their wealthier peers do. R'Club's Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) offers parents the tools they need in order to step into the role as their child's first teacher.

O'Hara explains, "This is a national model early literacy program which began in the 1960's in Israel. With funding from the Juvenile Welfare Board, the program is free for parents and targets low income and families that are at risk of their children not being ready for school when entering Kindergarten. The focus of the program is actually with the parents." Targeting children ages 3-5 years old, HIPPY helps parents learn ways to get their preschoolers ready for kindergarten. Many involved in the program have English as their second language, so the parents learn how to assist their children with educational opportunities and readiness which they would otherwise not have.

R'Club Child Care has an 82% rate of kindergarten preparedness for children going through their programs. Says O'Hara, "The results speak for themselves."

In addition to HIPPY, R'Club offers Early Learning Academies, child care, elementary and middle school programs, summer camps, and nutritional services. Its Exceptional Student Education programs offer individuals with special needs everything from field trips to homework help. Diverse and dedicated staff members bring a variety of educational expertise and experiences to work successfully with children. All staff meet stringent requirements of local departments, as well as FBI fingerprint and background checks.

At R'Club, all programs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Some programs have certain income eligibility guidelines.

Every parent hopes to find the best care for their child. They hope to find a secure, fun environment where promotion of health, happiness, and academic success is a priority. R'Club Child Care, Inc. pledges to best serve the needs of Pinellas County families and children through its inclusive programs, connection to parents, and dedication to children.

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