Benefits of Afterschool Programs

Instructor: Tara Schofield
Afterschool programs, which fill the lonely hours after school ends and before parents return home from work, are growing in popularity and availability. This lesson will discuss how these programs can actually help kids learn and grow.

What is an Afterschool Program?

In an age when both parents commonly work, or single parents must be away from home when their children get out of school, the need to provide activities for kids after school has increased. Afterschool programs are organized activities for children which take place after school, but before the normal workday is over. Filling these hours and finding child care for their children can be taxing for parents. The demand and popularity of afterschool care for elementary-aged children has led schools and organizations to create programs that engage kids in worthwhile, fun, and educational activities.

The Benefits of Afterschool Programs

Affordable or free care

With the rising cost of child care and the limited supply of quality providers, parents may find it challenging to find care for their children for such a short period of time each day. Even if a suitable provider is available, transporting a child from school to afterschool care can be difficult. However, when children attend an afterschool program at school or a local facility (YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, etc.) in their community, the care can be free or available at a reduced rate. This takes financial pressure off of parents.

Safe environment for children

For many children, the alternative to an afterschool program is being a latch-key child, a child who has their own house key and spends the afternoon/evening alone until his or her parents return home. It can be a scary and lonely experience to be home alone. A much safer and more positive experience is to provide a place where children are secure and have appropriate supervision until the parents are available for personal care.

Learning support

Most afterschool programs offer a variety of fun and interactive activities for children. They may enjoy games, study key concepts from school, get help with homework, or play with other kids. By participating in activities, kids continue to learn vital life skills. Beyond relevant social and communication skills, program administrators can teach math, spelling, English, social studies or other topics that encourage children to deepen their knowledge.

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