AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS
According to the National Afterschool Association, afterschool programs focus on a variety of areas including mentoring, academic support, arts, youth development, and sports and recreation. For many families, outside of school hours (OST or Out-of-School Time) activities are in high demand and in limited supply. Afterschool activities benefit students’ academic performance, classroom behavior, and overall health.
Afterschool programs range from Montessori-style, curiosity-based learning, to art, athletics, and language immersion. General homework help, as well as math tutors or English tutoring programs, are sometimes offered. Latchkey kids benefit from afterschool programs where they might otherwise be at home alone. (A latch key kid is a term for those children that come home after school to an empty house due to parents working).
After school programs are often rooted in research. An Afterschool Alliance research study illustrates how parents see benefits for their children from afterschool programs including:
- Interacting with peers
- Building social skills
- Access to healthy snacks and meals
- Assistance with homework
- Opportunities to engage in STEM and computer-related activities
- Building life skills
- Participating in physical activities
In addition, the Afterschool Alliance research shows that afterschool programs are a lifeline for working families.
Public school programs provide a supervised, safe environment for children of all ages. Many programs are available on campus, and some will provide transportation to a facility outside of the school like the YMCA or KinderCare. Contact your local neighborhood public school to learn what campus and offsite programs are offered.
21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC)
The CCLC plan is a federal program that offers opportunities for local communities to establish and expand afterschool activities. Efforts are vital to provide students at low performing schools easy access to tutoring, academic enrichment, and other helpful educational activities.
The CCLC plan enables parents and caregivers to engage in their child’s education, as well as opportunities to enroll in adult literacy classes.
The Afterschool Alliance overview on the outcomes of 21st Century Community Learning Centers include:
- Approximately half of the students improved their math and language arts grades.
- More than 2/3 of the students improved their homework completion and class participation.
- Over 3/5 of students improved their behavior in class.
Afterschool Programs at School
Parents and caregivers searching for afterschool programs can start with their local public school. Many provide on-site programs with licensed providers like the YMCA. Schools have the flexibility of using multiple spaces like classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, playgrounds, and fields to accommodate program activities. Afterschool snacks can be served through the federally funded, USDA National School Lunch Program. After school snacks adhere to federal nutrition standards, and they are sometimes offered for free upon eligibility. Examples of afterschool program activities include:
- Tutoring and homework assistance
- Supervised “drop-in” athletic programs
- Drama activities
- Arts and crafts
- Extended day programs
The assurance that children are safe, thriving, and receiving academic and social support is one of the many benefits of afterschool programs.
AFTER SCHOOL NEWS
NISD LIBRARIAN SAID, “NO HAND, NO PROBLEM” TO THIS ASPIRING VIOLINIST Strings is a Northside ISD after school program for 5th graders who aspire to be violinist.