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The Basics of After-School Programs

Children at after-school program

It’s important for children to develop emotional and social skills at an early age. School hours cover the mental and intellectual parts of a child’s life, but what does the remainder of the day offer them? There are a variety of after-school programs that can help with your child’s development outside of the classroom and give them the foundation for success later in life. Familiarizing yourself with the basics of these programs is the first step toward helping them realize that potential.
What Is an After-School Program?

While school is important for a child’s overall growth, the hours outside of school are also (if not more) crucial to their development. After-school programs are organized activities outside of school that create an environment for children and young adults to socialize, get help with homework, and have fun. There are a variety of programs to choose from, and it’s often encouraged to have your child try out a few—this way they can decide what they want to do with their time.

What Are the Benefits?

When a child or young adult participates in an after-school program, they’re given the opportunity to socialize with others who have the same interests as them. Other than recess, this gives them the opportunity to make lasting relationships that further develop their sense of social identity. These programs also give children the chance to participate in their favorite hobby and grow those skills.

Additionally, many programs offer academic support, mentoring, and youth development activities. Those who take advantage of this aid often see an improvement in their academic performance. It’s even been noted that these kids begin to exhibit better health, nutrition, and classroom behavior.

Where Can I Find After-School Programs?

Ask the principal at your child’s school if they offer any programs. You can also try contacting local organizations, such as the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of America. After-school programs are often a part of a larger curriculum, so be sure to do your research.

What If There Are No Programs Available?
If you can’t find a program, don’t feel discouraged. Many after-school programs are created by community residents and parents who partner with local schools and organizations. There may be other parents who are in the same predicament as you - and they may wish to set something up. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those in your community regarding available locations and supplies.

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