09/10/2012 04:07 pm ET

Chicago Schools Strike: Where To Send CPS Students

It's official: members of the Chicago Teachers Union walked off the job Monday morning, and most of the city's teachers are on strike, with no clear end date in sight.

While it remains uncertain as to whether the teachers or the school board will win in this standoff, nearly 400,000 Chicago Public School students will be caught in limbo until contract negotiations are resolved.

As strike talk heated up last week, CPS unveiled their "Children First" contingency plan now in effect at 144 sites across the city: an opt-in program that offers supervised activities for students who sign up from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each weekday. (Read the full plan and instructions on how to sign up on the CPS website.)

The Children First sites will include camp-like activities led by nonunion employees including former teachers, principals, office employees and volunteers, according to WGN, and breakfast and lunch will be served. Students are grouped by age and assigned to specific sites including 60 churches and faith-based centers that offer "safe haven" programs.

Hours have been extended at the YMCA of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District will be offering supplemental programming, like art projects and sports, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Park District programming does not include meals.

The CTA also announced Monday that CPS students will receive free rides on the city's transit system between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. over the course of the strike.

For families not reliant on CPS for weekday supervision, Chicago offers a host of great activities for kids, providing an opportunity for education outside the classroom. Check out some of our favorite options:



Teacher Strike: Alternate Activities