Benefits of After-School Programs

Mindfully planned and appropriate after-school activities have great benefits. Here are 8 reasons why after-school programs benefit children.

Create a sense of belonging

If the program is local or at school, it may be a nice way for your child to connect with peers in a new setting. Kids in afterschool programs are more likely to be included and feel like they’re part of a group. These programs often have more adult supervision than playground time offers.

Improve social and emotional skills

A good program promotes cooperation, support, and respect. This can help kids feel more secure about joining a game or starting a conversation. And if they slip up, a sympathetic staffer should be on hand to remind them to take turns or stop interrupting.  In addition to exploring their interests, after-school programs also give kids a chance to socialize and make new friends. These programs can provide a much-needed sense of community for kids who may not have that at home or in their neighborhood. Kids feel connected to something larger than themselves and develop a sense of belonging.

Build Social & Life Skills

Structured and unstructured programs can also help students develop social, emotional, and life skills. Research has shown that after-school programs can help kids experience positive teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. Additionally, after-school programs can also help kids learn how to manage their emotions, and time, set goals, and stay on track. These skills are important not only at home, in school but at future workplaces.

Strengthen lifelong learning and make learning more fun

A quality after-school program can be a productive learning time. This is a great benefit, especially for those kids who learn and think differently.  Experience and practice are essential. For this reason, an afterschool program with a wide offer of activities can offer your child a variety of ways to learn and is an excellent way to set your child up for success.  For example, in science and computer classes, there aren’t tests and students may work together in groups. It’s a fun and meaningful way for kids to work with other kids in areas they enjoy. 

Build Confidence

For kids who lack confidence or have learning challenges, an afterschool program may feel more forgiving than school. The stakes may not feel as high. Kids may be more willing to try new things and take more positive risks. This, in turn, can lead to higher self-esteem.

Improve School Attendance

After-school programs have been shown to influence school-day attendance, even when most don’t appear to make it an intentional goal. It can be accomplished by:

  • Providing socialization and peer attention in a supervised venue.
  • Re-establishing the link between effort and results—first in a non-school activity.
  • Engaging students in challenging activities helps them develop persistence, a trait critical to later success in school and life.
  • Providing consistent contact with caring, stable adults.
  • Increasing the sense of belonging at school.

Exploration of Diverse Interests

After-school programs provide a chance for kids to explore their interests outside of the traditional school day. These programs can provide a safe and supervised environment for students to explore their interests to learn and grow. A variety of activities from organized sports, fitness, arts and crafts to STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) and computer coding workshops can be offered. Youth need opportunities to try new things and find out what they’re passionate about, outside of the rigors of the classroom.

Provide safety and supervision

According to a recent study, after-school programs help keep kids safe. The study, which was conducted by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, found that kids who participated in after-school programs were less likely to be involved in crime or other risky behaviors.  This is just one of many studies that have shown the positive benefits of after-school programs. Kids get a chance to be part of a community and to develop positive relationships with other adults and kids.  After-school programs provide a safe space for youth during the hours when many are unsupervised and participation in risky behaviors is especially prevalent.

After-school programs offer a multitude of advantages for children. They not only further the acquisition of new skills but also enhance academic performance while together lowering the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. The undeniable benefits make it indisputable that after-school programs play a crucial role in a child’s overall development.