There is a lot of talk about what children learn while in school. During the school day, we must ensure our children receive quality instruction that pushes them academically to be critical thinkers. The curriculum during the school day must be rigorous, engaging, and culturally competent. Just as crucial as learning during the school day is the knowledge that happens when school lets out. Child growth does not end when the school day ends. After school programs are just as important to the growth of children. Many after school programs play a significant role in the overall achievement of children in school; after school programs are great at improving the overall development of children.
There are after school programs that offer children the opportunity to complete their homework. Sometimes there is value in working on their homework in a different environment than school or even at home.
I know at our school, one of our after school program options for students is the Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls Club offers an after-school opportunity for our families where students can play and do their homework. Children are split by age, and all of the children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade have an opportunity to participate. The program allows parents to pick up their children as late as 7:00 PM and is only $15 for the entire school year. The great part about the Boys and Girls Club option is the bus that picks up the students from our school every day. This can lead to better efforts in school courses and less absent days due to skipping because the child may be more interested in getting to attend the after school program.
Children can benefit from after school programs both emotionally and behaviorally if they feel they can find some form of a positive connection, whether with the adults in charge of other children who participate. Relationships that are nurtured in an after school program benefits children because they can focus on good character traits. One of the best after school programs I have seen is one that I was part of growing up called Young Men of Purpose. This program focused on young men learning the character traits of successful men. The focus was both on character and academics. All young men had the opportunity to participate. The after school program benefited the other young men that participated and me. It gave us something to look forward to after school. It was an opportunity for us to talk about what was going on and be there for one another. It was a brotherhood and bond that, for many us, remains strong some twenty years later.
After school programming is not just for helping with homework or developing character skills, but it can also be useful for getting children physically active. One of the best after school options for children is participating in a sport. Children need more physical activity in their lives. After school programs focused on sports will give children the opportunity of physical activity. These sports also allow students to live healthier lives at a younger age.
When school lets out, the learning and development of children cannot stop. We must continue to give children space and opportunity to learn and grow.