finish lines: Daryl Lucke

Daryl Lucke – the new executive director of Mt Lebanon Extended day Program, at Washington Elementary School.

Daryl Lucke is executive director of Mt. Lebanon Extended Day Program (MLEDP), which is celebrating 30 years of providing before- and- after-school care for elementary school students. Previously, she was the executive director of Ward Home.

What brought you to MLEDP? When the previous director retired, I was contacted by the firm conducting the search. Having been a working parent with a need for quality child care, I am passionate about the mission of MLEDP. I am excited to lead an organization that provides such high-quality … programming in my own community.

Why has MLEDP excelled for 30 years? Our staff is passionate about designing age-appropriate, engaging activities that teach positive social skills for children in grades K-5. Our strong relationship with Mt. Lebanon School District enables programming to take place in the school the child attends. This affords us the opportunity to interact with the teachers and administrators to sup-port the goals, activities and culture of each school. Because the kids typically return each year we get to know them very well. We understand their needs and can design programming that meets those needs.

What unique projects can the kids choose? Many clubs exist, and they are a favorite activity for all of the children. Some examples include: sewing, dance, movie makers, newspaper, yoga, comedy and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). We teach the children leadership skills by encouraging them to take turns running the clubs.

How is childcare improving? MLEDP supports the expectations the schools have for the students. When the kindergarten changed to an academic curriculum, we adjusted our programming by creating more reading activities and developmental play opportunities. Our staff uses National School-Age standards to [help the children] develop social skills and learn responsibil-ity and conflict resolution, which is needed to navigate the various developmental stages.

How do you know you are doing a good job? All decisions we face are tied to our mission—I ask myself and the staff, “How does this benefit our kids, parents and community? If staff is engaged and not shy about raising different points of view, then I have succeeded in creating a culture that encourages inclusive decision-making and ultimately benefits the children and families we serve.

Photography: Martha Rial