Afterschool programs provide students with an environment to grow, learn, and play aside from the traditional school day. Afterschool programs encompass a variety of different activities, so parents are bound to find one that can both accommodate their schedules and satisfy their child’s interests. There are several ways parents can learn about afterschool programs that are available to them. The best place to go to would be your child’s school, as many of these programs are run on-site at the school. There are also usually community-based programs available through local parks and recreation departments. Local community organizations, such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, may also offer afterschool programs. No matter the method, there will be ways to find information about these programs through the Internet, local newspapers, and community bulletins.
By taking the initiative to enroll your child in afterschool programs, parents can play an active role in supporting their child’s development outside of school. When doing so, it is important to keep two things in mind: what your child needs and what they enjoy. The former encompasses areas like tutoring or skill-building activities to fill in gaps in knowledge, whereas the latter focuses on expanding their creativity and social skills. Striking a balance between the two can help craft a well-rounded afterschool experience for your child.
Here are 5 reasons how afterschool programs can benefit your child:
Many afterschool programs are subject-based, providing children with additional support in areas they might need. In this way, these programs can help bridge the achievement gap between students from high-income families and those from low-income ones. The issue, which stems from a variety of reasons, can mainly be attributed to a lack of access to resources. Students from high-income families often have access to more educational resources, such as high-quality schools, extracurricular activities, technology, etc. There are many programs that offer students free tutoring and resources. A study conducted by UC Irvine School of Education showed that consistent participation in afterschool programs for elementary school students is connected to closing the math achievement gap by the fifth grade.
Unlike school curriculum, which focuses more on general education, afterschool programs can be tailored to a student’s specific interests. If a student is passionate about art, for example, they can attend an afterschool program focused on art and design. Programs like these can help expand a child’s interest and understanding in a certain course offering, especially if traditional school courses don’t cover it. This is especially helpful as a child gets older and starts to consider what they might want to pursue post-high school.
Aside from academic support, afterschool programs also include activities like sports, music, and drama (to name a few). They can be another way to help a child exercise their creative minds and improve their physical health. Children are like sponges, soaking up all the information and experiences they are exposed to; thus, it is important to supplement their school learning—which places more emphasis on lectures and rote learning—with more interactive and immersive experiences.
Engaging in hands-on activities helps children take the skills they’ve learned and apply it to real life. There are a variety of skill sets that children can develop. Take sports for instance: learning to play a team-based sport like basketball or soccer teaches children the importance of teamwork and collaboration. A child cannot be successful in the sport without learning how to work together with their teammates. A more individual sport like golf or tennis, however, teaches children discipline and coordination; they would need to take the time to perfect their technique when it comes to their game.
Safe and structured environment
Thought of as an extension of the traditional school day, afterschool programs offer a safe and structured environment for students to continue learning and growing. These programs are typically staffed by qualified teachers and other professionals, such as counselors and program coordinators. Their role is to help facilitate the development of students’ skills and interests. A majority of these afterschool programs—especially those run by the school or on campus—have a set structure. This ensures that children are supervised and protected at all times, as well as establishes clear guidelines and expectations for children to follow. Children thrive in environments where there is a consistent schedule, as they can spend less time wondering about what will come next and more on the task at hand.
Support for working families
For parents who work later or cannot afford daycare, afterschool programs are a great way to ensure that their children are safe and occupied. The programs offer a sense of routine and stability, as well as helping children develop social skills as they are around their peers. The afterschool programs that are held at school are typically free of charge, but can be limited in space. As such, if you are in a position to need your child to attend an afterschool program, apply to these programs earlier in the year to ensure that your child can secure a spot.
The San Bernardino City Unified School District has the CAPS programs available to students in Kindergarten to 12th grade. To learn more about the program and what its goals are for students, read this Expanded Learning Opportunities Program Plan Guide.
Afterschool programs bring together students from different backgrounds, allowing them to interact with and learn from their peers. This is particularly important for students who may not have many opportunities to interact with their peers outside of school; having that extra time afterschool can help them form deeper friendships and collaborate with one another. These interactions are crucial in a child’s social and emotional development because they begin understanding and applying concepts like empathy, kindness, and respect.
Student Hires Afterschool Programs
At Student Hires, we place a strong emphasis on helping students excel both inside and outside of the classroom. Our programs aim to provide students with the right resources to do well academically and to prepare students in various areas of career development. We have several programs ranging from K-12 after-school/summer programs to workforce development programs. In line with the conversation around extracurriculars, we also offer enrichment programs that allow students to explore their creative passions. Contact us to learn more about how we can create a custom-tailored program to meet your needs.
Students may not always like the idea of afterschool programs, but the truth is that they offer a plethora of benefits. From helping children improve academically and socially to relieving working parents from the stress of balancing their work schedule with the end of the school day, afterschool programs serve to help both parties.