Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Importance of After School Programs

High quality after school programs play an extremely important role in the development of a child's mind, body and spirit. Long gone are the days of being able to send a child home after school to an empty house. Times have changed and a new set of challenges and pressures are facing children in the United States. After school programs play a large role in providing children with the skills and support they need to avoid negative peer pressure and become productive, healthy adults.
Knowing that your child is safe and supervised during the after school hours has always been one of the top reasons that parents choose to enroll children in after school programs. Research is now showing that there are additional positive educational and social outcomes to participation in after school programs. Here are some of the other benefits of after school programming:
  • After school programs support a parent's ability to maintain employment. Parents have piece of mind knowing their children are safe and can concentrate more on their work. They have less childcare issues which can lead to a decrease in absenteeism from work.
  • After school programs support academic achievement and help children feel more connected to their school. Children participate in homework clubs and enrichment activities that focus on learning concepts in a fun, hands on way. Children who participate are less likely to be tardy or absent from school.
  • After school is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn social and problem solving skills. A group setting is the perfect venue for children to learn and practice how to interact in a positive way with children and adults from all backgrounds and cultures.
  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states that quality after school programs can cut the risk of youth becoming involved in crime by up to 75 percent. Boredom that can lead to experimentation in risk behaviors or crime is eliminated by an adult supervised environment that provides activities that are of interest to children.
After school care is so much more than just babysitting. It has evolved into an environment for children to gain new skills, participate in activities that reinforce learning in a fun way while spending time with positive adult role models. The field of after school has truly turned into a profession with networks of professionals who are dedicated to positive youth development. I am very proud to be in this field and to work with the dedicated youth development staff here at the Middlesex YMCA.

1 comment:

PConnelly said...

Great blog, and there is wonderful work being done everyday by the front line Kids Korner Staff.
Keep up the great work.