Updated 09/17/12 – 1:14 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – As the Chicago teachers’ strike entered its sixth school day, the hundreds of school buildings, libraries, non-profits and other sites providing alternate activities for students were open again to provide children a safe haven while school is out.
WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports teachers and other members of the Chicago Teachers Union were marching outside one of those sites in the Old Town neighborhood on Monday, at George Manierre Elmentary School, at 1420 N. Hudson Av.
About two dozen picketers were outside the school as parents dropped off their kids for the “Children First” program at the school around 8:30 a.m.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports
Manierre is one of 147 Chicago Public Schools buildings open from 8:30 am. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday for the district’s expanded “Children First” program to provide activities for students during the strike. Originally, those sites were open only until 12:30 p.m., but the district extended the hours of the program starting last Thursday.
Parent Khagaee Israel brought his son back to Manierre because of the extended day for the “Children First” sites. He said it was difficult for him to pick his son up at 12:30 p.m. last week, so he only brought him for the first day of the strike.
Nine-year old Yosef said he is glad to be back, “because we get to play games, and play puzzles, activities, and read books.”
Another parent, Janesha Fair said her 4th grade daughter is in the special needs class, so she’s thankful for the extended day during the strike, because she feels her daughter needs the additional time.
But another parent, Tanesha Horton, said a few meals and activities aren’t enough learning time for her 5-year old son. So, she’s kept him home where she’s gone over school work and workbooks with him, as well as taking trips to the zoo and museums.
The city’s 78 public libraries, 84 Chicago Park District locations, 59 faith-based organizations, and 100 other non-profit organizations also are providing activities for CPS students during the strike.
In all, more than 450 various sites are providing activities such as games, reading, movies, and other options for kids during the strike. According to CPS, the programs can serve a total of 160,000 students.