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Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program

The Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program (RREDP) is a recreationally focused program for children in grades K-4 who attend Florida Ruffin Ridley School in Brookline, Massachusetts. RREDP was established in 1972 by parents. They were concerned about the lack of high-quality after-school care in Brookline. After parents demonstrated that the need for childcare existed, the school principal, and the Brookline School Committee approved a proposal for the use of the School space for an extended day program. 


The program began with 20 children, a teacher/director, a full-time aide, and 14 students from Boston University and Brookline High School. From those rather modest beginnings, RREDP has grown to a program that serves approximately 125 children and has an Executive Director, Program Director, 15 teachers, and a bookkeeper. Care is provided not only in the hours after school, but also on some school holidays, and during some school vacations. RREDP was incorporated into Brookline Public Schools and was first licensed by the Commonwealth's Office for Children in 1988. Parents may review Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program's licensing compliance history by contacting the Department of Early Education and Care.


Financial support for RREDP comes primarily from tuition paid by parents. Therefore, the extent to which parents raise funds can directly affect the level of the financial burden they bear. Fundraising can also expand the limited scholarship budget.


In the early years of the Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program, parents were heavily involved in the daily management of the program in addition to their roles as policymakers. Parents hired staff, collected and dispersed all money, maintained the books and records, coordinated with governmental bodies, attended community meetings, and raised funds. As the years passed, parent participation diminished considerably. Parents currently comprise the governing body of RREDP. Parents have delegated the majority of operational tasks to the directors. They oversee the program, offering support, and counsel as needed. They interface with the Public Schools of Brookline and Florida Ruffin Ridley School administration, establish policy, set the budget, oversee the dispersal of scholarship funds, and occasionally volunteer to lead special activities. They also advocate for RREDP through participation on a town-wide extended day advisory committee.

Image by Joshua Eckstein


The quality of care has not lessened over time. This high standard of care is due in large measure to our staff, whose professionalism and dedication assure a top-notch program, enriching the lives of the entire community.

Cathy Nowacki

Executive Director 


Kindergarten Team: Jane Ellen, Abagail, Shane & Cassidy

First Grade Team:  Allison, Emily, Mary, Minu, Marcus & Cassidy

Second Grade Team:  Ashley, Randy & Cassidy

Third-Fifth Grade Team:  Fereda, Ihab, Sylvia, Angelles & Annie

Rotating Teacher (works with all grade levels): Erik & Christian 

Meet the Team


When school is dismissed, Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program teachers escort enrolled children to their program space. At the beginning of the school year, the day begins with a short circle time and snack. Circle time assists children in the monumental tasks of identifying their peers and teachers by name and creates the framework of group norms that will remain with the children until they graduate from RREDP. Circle time helps children to learn our routines and bond as a group. This bond and identification as a member of our kindergarten class are fundamental to helping us keep children safe as well as make the children feel connected to Ruffin Ridley Extended Day’s kindergarten community.


Snack is provided by RREDP. It consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other nut-free purchased snacks. Children are encouraged to bring foods from home if they need a more substantial snack. We ask that you do not send candy or soda for snacks. Children with life-threatening allergies that wish to consume snack provided by the program, must abide by the program’s snack policy.


Kindergartners are able to choose from a wide array of materials, including blocks, dramatic play props, small manipulatives, card and board games, books, puzzles, etc. We have a recycle center that is very popular with kindergartners. They are able to create their own art employing recycled materials, glue, and tape. A teacher-led project is also a daily choice for children.


Each day, kindergarteners all go outside for gross motor play. Children can choose self-directed play or participate in teacher-led group games and activities. In rainy or bitterly cold weather, indoor gym and gross motor spaces are available. During the program day, children may choose to participate in crafts projects and teacher-facilitated free play during which time they interact with their peers. Adult-led gym activities are also a part of our kindergarten curriculum. 


On Fridays, school dismissal is at 1:40 pm. The schedule for the day is similar but divided into four activity blocks rather than three.


We aspire to provide a particularly gentle and nurturing environment for kindergartners. Our teachers are trained in the developmental approach to early childhood education and update their knowledge yearly through staff development conferences, workshops, and graduate school courses.


Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program teachers meet first & second graders at their classrooms and escort them to their program space on the fifth floor of the school.


The afternoon is divided into three activity periods. The first activity is devoted to unwinding and relaxing after the rigors of the school day.


During the first activity block of the day, first & second graders play outdoors on the school playground. The children may choose to engage in an adult-led activity or play freely with their friends. In rainy or bitterly cold weather, indoor gym and gross motor spaces are available.


Children may also participate in our club program. Clubs afford a more continuous exposure to crafts, drama, or athletic activities. Clubs meet for an hour a week for six or eight weeks. Children may choose one club for each session. Once a child chooses a club, they are encouraged to commit to attending at least three times. Clubs will begin in late fall.


The second activity period is comprised of snack, more adult organized activities, and child-directed play. 


During the last activity period of the day, teachers lead art projects and science activities. During inclement weather, they lead games in the gym or other gross spaces. First & second graders can choose from many materials, including blocks, dramatic play props, small manipulatives, card and board games, books, puzzles, etc. In addition, we have a recycle center that is very popular with children this age where they create their own art employing recycled materials, glue, and tape.


On Fridays, school dismissal is at 1:40 p.m. The schedule for the day is similar but divided into four activity blocks rather than three.


The 3rd-4th grade program at Ruffin Ridley Extended Day reflects that the children in these grades need a somewhat less structured environment and are expected to assume more individual responsibility. Although the basic schedule is similar to that of the younger children, we have built into that schedule more opportunities for the 3rd-4th graders to participate in activities independent of direct teacher supervision. In recognition that these children's needs are different from the K-2s, we have placed the 3-4s in separate spaces.


A teacher will meet grade 3-4 children near their classrooms during the first days of school.  After that, they walk independently. We heavily stress the importance of coming directly to the program after school is dismissed. Children must arrive at RREDP ten minutes after school is dismissed. If a child has not arrived by that time but has been in school, our teachers begin to look for the child. If necessary, calls are made to the child's parent(s) to establish their whereabouts.


If a child will not attend RREDP on a particular day but has been in school,  a parent must phone or email the program before NOON to inform us that the child will not attend our program that day. This procedure must be followed so that we can effectively track all children.


Monday through Thursday, there is a designated, supervised homework time for third, fourth, and fifth graders whose families would like them to complete homework while at the program. If the weather permits, children not doing homework play outdoors, engaging in free play, or adult-led sports activities such as kickball and soccer.

Throughout the afternoon, the third and fourth graders choose from various activities such as art or science projects, board and table games, building with special equipment, reading, club participation, homework, gym, or outdoor play. 


One teacher greets parents. They are available to report on the day's activities and answer parents' questions.


If you are a new family to the Florida Ruffin Ridley School and would like more information about the Ruffin Ridley Extended Day Program, please feel free to contact Cathy Nowacki via emails or call during the hours of 11 - 6 p.m.

345 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446

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