Many parents struggle with finding appropriate care for their children after school. From infancy to preschool, day care programs can be easily found that will stimulate a child’s development. However, older children can often be overlooked when it comes to finding safe and reliable care. Additionally, school-aged children will often balk at the idea of being left with a babysitter when they would rather be having fun with their friends. Fortunately, the ideal solution for this dilemma exists in an after-school care program that can blend both fun and education into the hours after school before parents come home from work while offering the following benefits to a child’s development.
Focus on Health and Safety
The most important concern for their children that most parents have in the after-school hours is their health and safety. No parent wants to worry about what could happen if their children are roaming the streets. To avoid this issue, an after-school program will give a child a place to go where they will be accounted for each day. Additionally, after-school programs look out for the health and safety of the children in their care by providing nutritious snacks and opportunities for physical activity that can help them to burn off energy after sitting in their classrooms all day. Many after-school care programs also make sure to teach about health topics such as nutrition, first aid and safety.
Opportunities for Involvement
After-school programs not only keep kids safe, but they also provide them with opportunities to be involved in their community. Many after-school programs encourage volunteering through special projects such as clothing and food drives, community gardens and outreach programs. When children are able to contribute to their community, they learn important skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Additionally, they will begin to feel the positive effects that come from helping others.
Encourages Social Development
Many children go home from school to an empty house. This can cause them to spend hours alone with no one to talk to about their day. A better alternative to this scenario is an after-school program where children can interact with their peers as well as trusted adults. In an after-school program, the children are constantly involved in fun and stimulating activities that encourages social interaction. They will learn how to build and maintain friendships, participate in team sports and put on plays and skits. Through these interactions, children in after-school programs will develop friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
Help With Academic Work
As children progress through the school system, their assignments can become more challenging. This can lead to a need for tutoring services and other resources for helping them to stay on top of their assignments. Additionally, many students will try to avoid doing their homework if they are home alone. For this reason, after-school programs maintain a strong focus on helping children to complete their school assignments. They ensure that their staff members are qualified to help with homework such as essays and mathematics assignments. Additionally, children in an after-school program are encouraged to work with their peers in order to complete group work and peer-tutoring exercises. This can help to reinforce the concepts that a child is learning in school. In fact, most parents find that their child’s grades begin to improve after they enter an after-school program.
Adult Role Models and Mentors
Children need a variety of responsible adults around them at all times in order to stimulate their development. By building relationships with people that they trust, children benefit from knowing that they have people that they can rely on when problems arise. In after-school care programs, staff members and volunteers make sure to spend a large amount of time interacting with the children in their care. This allows them to form bonds that can enable them to help children with their daily concerns. Additionally, having an adult mentor can help a child through major decisions such as choosing a college or finding a way to resist peer pressure. These bonds with adult mentors have also been shown to help children to develop better self-confidence when facing new situations.
When it comes to finding appropriate care for children, the benefits of an after-school program cannot be overlooked. Even older children need a safe place to go after school so that they can stay out of trouble during the hours before their parents come home. When a child enters an after-school program, they are immediately surrounded by an environment that will foster their academic, physical and social development. By receiving help with homework and supportive advice from their peers and staff members, children who participate in an after-school program are more likely to stay out of trouble while experiencing improvements in all levels of their development.
Junior Achievement Colorado is a nonprofit specializing in the furthering of youth business education in children in Colorado. Their after school programs help kids learn the value of money, and how to prepare for college and beyond. Volunteer today to help a child become more business savvy.