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Update May 9, 2013- Asphalt Green has now created a website explaining their after-school program. “No babysitter? No problem! With our after–school pick-up service, parents can rest assured their children are safely picked up from school and escorted to Asphalt Green for their afternoon classes. Students from PS 276 will travel by shuttle bus. Our chaperones will supervise and make sure children are ready for their classes. A break will also be provided for packed snacks. Children enrolled in classes starting at 3:30 pm only are eligible for after-school pick-up. Children must be picked up by caregivers immediately following their classes. After-School Pick-Up is available for children who attend PS 234, PS 89 & PS 276.”
For more information, please call 212.298.2900.
May 8, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Many of the parents who have supported Asphalt Green coming to Battery Park City have been under the impression that it would provider higher caliber after-school programs than what Bob Townley’s Manhattan Youth provides. That will not be the case. Asphalt green does not offer after-school programs on the Upper East side, currently, and will not do so in the new BPC location either.
At the May 7th Community Board 1 (CB1) meeting, Asphalt Green Director, Paul Weiss, announced the opening date of June 15th. When asked about after-school programs, he replied, “We will not be offering those. Instead, we will have “pick-up programs” to transfer kids to the facility for things like swim lessons. We will offer these a few times a week. The basic structure is that we’ll send a staff member to the school right when school lets out (imagine one of those tour groups in which the tour leader holds up a sign in the air that everyone convenes around). The staff member will have a roster of kids and classes, and will check that they have every kid who has signed up for pick-up, and then will safely walk them to the Community Center, and make sure they get to the appropriate area for their program. I will confirm the schools and other details and send you the link as soon as I have them”
Manhattan Youth offers an extensive variety of programs that begin after school hours. Most classes take place in the actual schools and are approximately two-hours long. One hour is free-play time, and the other hour is a more organized class on topics ranging from ceramics to filmmaking.
The Manhattan Youth after school hourly fee is quite competitive, and can be cheaper than hiring a babysitter. For one class a week, the monthly fee is $130. For five days a week, the monthly fee is $335.
For any of the approximately ten school in which Manhattan Youth operates, they provide a staff of at least ten organizers. Manhattan Youth coordinators insist that all of the staff are “paid professionals”, and not volunteers. For example, a language class is taught be a “language teacher”. However, many parents are unhappy with the quality of these programs. Other parents claim that volunteers do indeed staff the Manhattan Youth programs located at the Warren Street facility.
At PS 276, a group of parents formed a committee to meet with Manhattan Youth and discuss ways to improve the after-school classes. One parent we spoke with said, “My kid was in an art class, and all they were doing was coloring books”. Another parent said, “Everything Bob Townley offers is mediocre. They are just babysitting.”.
Please tell us your experiences with the Manhattan Youth or Asphalt Green programs, either by posting a comment, or sending us an email.