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Traditional after-school day care will be a thing of the past at Alden schools under plans announced Thursday night to offer recreational programs.

The YMCA wants to do more than just watch kids in its after school child care program -- it wants to watch them do things.

Beginning in February, pupils at Alden primaries and intermediate schools can sign up for a host of activities, from arts to athletics.

"It is truly unique," said Lancaster branch YMCA Executive Director Jamie Dosher. "It's a totally different focus -- not just child care."

The idea is modeled after a successful program started this year by the YMCA at Lancaster's William street school. The format is similar to community education programs, with a variety of courses offered in four-week blocks, said Dosher.

Families will pay fees of roughly $25 per child for an entire four-week course. Parents will not be charged the $6.50 afternoon child care fee if their child is enrolled in an activity for that day.

Pricing will be worked out for parents who must leave a child beyond the 5 p.m. end of classes. Because the YMCA is a not-for-profit agency, costs will be kept low, with financial assistance available.

"We try to bridge the gap," said Dosher. "This does provide child care, but it also helps provide after school activities for the kids."

Another non-traditional plus to the program is zero cost to the district and to taxpayers.

Dosher said another four to five staff members will be added to meet the anticipated increase in enrollment. Registration begins next week for a wide array of classes including crafts, theater, sports, CPR training and creative writing.

In other business the board:

Recognized the girls varsity soccer team that was named as New York State Scholar Athletes, with an overall team academic average of 93.3 percent.

Announced that the district was named in the national Environmental Protection Agency magazine "Waste Wise" for exemplary recycling programs.

Discussed the need for adding Spanish I and French I at the high school, contingent upon the upcoming budget.

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