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The Accidental Pied Piper

The Accidental Pied PiperTufts graduate Peter Rosché loves taking care of more than 100 children in the Newton, Mass., after-school program he has supervised for the past 30 years.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.08.05] To parents, Peter Rosché is a good “Pied Piper” – constantly surrounded by the children who flock to the after school program he runs in Newton, Mass. Though the Tufts graduate didn’t set out to be such a big hit with children and parents alike, he earned the reputation over the last 30 years by adhering to certain basic principles about what he believes an after-school program should provide.

''The overall philosophy is [the kids] all come from a day up in the classroom, where things are much more regulated," Rosché – director of Angier After School Program Inc. – explained to The Boston Globe. "Down here, they're much more empowered to make choices. They don't have to have structured activities. It's not 'instead of school,' it's after school."

He recently celebrated his 30th anniversary of working at the school, where he was recognized by students, alumni, parents and staff.

''He has a tremendous ability to be in command without needing to be an authority figure," parent Mike Howell told the Globe. ''When I'm in there, kids are constantly pulling on his pant leg and wanting to sing a song, or wanting him to see a piece of artwork that they've done, or wanting him to play Stratego."

Rosché came to his current position in a somewhat roundabout fashion – his gift for working with children was discovered when he enlisted kids at the Medford Community Center to help him renovate the basement there. At the time, the French degree-holder was working as a carpenter.

A year after becoming a substitute teacher at the Medford program, he was hired as director of the Newton program. In that role, he has surrounded himself with a variety of assistants to meet the various and changing needs of the 5- to 11-year-old kids in his care.

''We have a lot of different skills and obsessions as well as personality types, so a kid in need can drift to the type of lap that they need," Rosché told the Globe.

He believes that since he started working in child care, parental views of after-school programs have shifted positively.

''It's interesting, the way we are perceived – the change in attitude of parents toward us," he told the Globe. ''I think in the beginning, you were relinquishing your parental responsibilities if you let your kids go to an after-school program."

Rosché also works with school officials, providing valuable insight about students.

''Smart teachers use us as a resource, because we've known the kids for so long and in such depth," he told the newspaper.

Likewise, the kids are a great resource for Rosché and his fellow instructors.

''They keep us up to date," he explained to the Globe. ''There are always new things to learn."

As for the students, their noisy, rambunctious nature doesn't bother him.

''It's just very much a part of thriving, throbbing life," he told the Globe.










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