rive down a suburban
street at 3:30 p.m. on a
fall day. There are
children walking home
from school }_ laughing,
skipping, pushing each other along.
A little girl leaves the crowd and
turns up a driveway toward a dark
house. She thrusts her hand into her
pocket and steps on her toes to put a
key into the lock. It takes her about
30 seconds to get the lock to work,
then she walks into the dark house
and shuts the door.
She is a latchkey kid. The term
describes children of working par-
ents who stay home alone.
But children don't have to stay
home alone anymore. Thanks to the
awareness • of parents and school offi-
cials, supervised latchkey progams
are growing in OaklandtCounty.
These programs are designed to
accommodate parents who cannot be
with their children. They are also
designed to give a child a place to
stay and a supervisor.
A latchkey or "child care center"
usually caters to children from kin-
dergarten through fifth grade and is
defined by Michigan law as a facility
other than a private residence that
receives children for less than 24-
Some nursery schools in the
area, such as Temple Emanu-El's,
offer a similar program called ex-
tended day, which is for children
Temple Emanu-El's program be-
gins at 7:30 a.m. and runs until the
start of school at 8:45 a.m. Afternoon
sessions run from 3:30 p.m. until 6
p.m. Rena Cohen, co-director of the
nursery, says that parents "don't
have to sign up" in advance — they
can take advantage of the service
when they need it. The cost is $2 per
day, but only children enrolled in
the nursery school can use the ex-
tended day program.
Temple Emanu-El began ex-
tended day two years ago because,
according to Cohen, "we have always
felt we are here to meet the needs of
children and the parents." The pro-
gram offers breakfast and a late
Ron Czarowitz and his wife both
have careers, and their oldest child,
Kate, 4, attended the extended day
program at Temple Emanu-El,
For Czarowitz the program at
Temple Emanu-El was the answer to
a pressing question: "What do we do
Who's Watching Johnny?
BY SHERI PICKOVER
Staff Repo ter
t V V