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Recess is in
Center offers child care by hour
WEB recess 3 jd
Tim Clark puts together a karaoke system in the theater room of the new child care center he is opening off Trammel Road in the Windermere community. Recess! by Charley will hold an open house on Sept. 13. - photo by Jim Dean

For parents who have ever been stranded without a babysitter, an hourly child care service is coming to Forsyth County.

In less than two weeks, Recess! by Charley will debut in the Windermere community.

Open for at least 11 hours six days a week, the facility will offer an anytime resource for parents just needing a few hours to run errands, go out to eat or spend time with friends.

Founder Tim Clark stumbled upon the idea while waiting with his 11-year-old son, Nicholas, for his 10-year-old son, Christopher, to finish a gymnastics lesson.

The two ended up waiting for hours in a coffee shop because Clark "noticed there was nothing for kids to do and he was bored to death."

"I thought it would be really nice to have a place that kids can play and do something they wanted to do, and I could still get my work done," he said.

"I found there was really no good short-term day care around. I decided to develop something."
Clark then sought help implementing his vision. His search led him to Michelle Clark (no relation), a Cumming woman who was advertising personal child care services.

Tim Clark thought Michelle Clark, who has a decade of experience as a teacher and director at Crème de la Crème preschools, had more to offer.

"He liked my background ... we met one day and we went over his whole concept," she said. "Since then we've been working feverishly to bring his concept to life. It's his vision and my heart and soul put together.

"My husband recently became a stay-at-home dad, so I can take that leap of faith and take this new adventure on."

The concept has blossomed into a daylong fun zone where kids from 18 months to 12 years old will be able to enjoy a few hours of arts and crafts, computers and games.

As the facility's director, Michelle Clark will spend most of her days leading daily activities and special events, like a weekly Web cast.

Because the facility will be open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, those nights will become parties with karaoke sing-a-longs, pizza parties and movie nights in the facility's small movie theater.

Coming from a preschool education background, Michelle Clark thought it might be difficult to transition to a fun and games atmosphere.

"But so many elements of fun contain education, that I don't feel as though I'm doing a disservice to any children," she said.

"We're indoor recess, so it's all the fun things that kids crave to do during the day at school, but don't get a chance to do."

Unlike a babysitting service, no planning will be required with Recess! by Charley. Reservations will not be needed.

Children can be dropped off and picked up anytime during the facility's hours.

"It's like an instant baby sitter," Tim Clark said.

He is in the final stage of obtaining state certification, which he expects in about a week. The certification structure is different from that of a full-time day care, in that a child is limited to five hours a day and up to 12 hours a week at the facility.

By having the limited schedules, Recess! doesn't have to adhere to some regulations, including scheduled nap times.

"This is where we see the need," Tim Clark said. "There are plenty of day cares around. This is a whole different concept we're doing."