KidZone remains safe, fun place for kids | Sioux Center News | #schoolsaftey

SIOUX CENTER—For 18 years, KidZone has been a part of Sioux Center’s after school programming, and it continues to provide a valued service to the community.

Operated through Centerpoint Church in Sioux Center, KidZone is a free after-school program for all children from kindergarten to third grade, offering a safe place to play and learn. Children and their families do not have to be members of Centerpoint to register, nor do they have to attend any particular school or even be a resident of Sioux Center.

So far, KidZone has registered 65 children for the upcoming school year. Registration is open throughout the year and can be done through the church’s website,, or by calling at 712-722-1861.

“Anytime a family wants to sign their child up, as long as they give us that important contact information and health information, we welcome them at any time of the year,” said KidZone director Amy Zebroski. “We don’t require them to fill out any type of calendar that says they’re going to be here. The only rule is that if you are registered, you can come.”

It runs from 3-5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It started on Tuesday and continues until May 2. The schedule follows the holiday breaks at Dordt University in Sioux Center since so many of the KidZone volunteers attend the university.

Most of the children at KidZone do go to Kinsey and walk there after school. When they arrive, they check in and get settled in. The kindergartners and first-graders get to have snacks and play games first while the second- and third-graders go to the church’s gym area for physical activity. After about 10 minutes, the second- and third-graders go into time for devotions with a Bible verse and a short video that accompanies it.

Then, the groups switch places. There’s later time to choose activities of their own to do with staff and volunteers around to supervise or help when needed.

Centerpoint, then First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, started KidZone in 2005 as an outreach program to benefit the community.

Zebroski has been employed by KidZone for seven years and has been its director for six years.

“Those younger ages, they always need someplace to be after school. I’m so happy for the families we have here, and we’ll continue to offer this for as long as we can,” Zebroski said.

To keep pace with the number of kids, KidZone began partnering with Dordt six years ago, exchanging student volunteer hours for education field credit.

“They do a semester, 25 hours, and plan and lead activities for the kids,” Zebroski said. “It works out really well. We still have our volunteer base and still have a lot of social work students who come and volunteer and congregation members and community members who come and volunteer.”

For the Dordt students to receive their credit, KidZone must have a licensed teacher on staff, so a Sioux Center School District liaison position has long been in place. This year, Kristina Howie starts in that role.

“Her role is to mentor those Dordt students. She goes from those classrooms and helps guide them as they make lesson and activity plans. She’s present in their rooms and helps teach them how to navigate classroom management and if questions come up,” Zebroski said. “One of the things that she’s super excited about this year is bringing in a lot more STEM activities into the classroom. I’m super excited to see where this goes.”

Working with partners from Dordt and the school district has served to provide more structure and opportunities to KidZone while preserving the fun atmosphere that the kids enjoy.

“I love getting to know the kids. They are so sweet and funny,” Zebroski said. “I’ve been in after school programs for my entire adult life. I love the energy and how exciting it is anticipating the kids coming. It comes alive here. Getting to know each little kid and their little personalities is my favorite part. They say the funniest things. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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