The Importance of Afterschool Learning

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The Importance of Afterschool Learning

When it comes to providing the most effective STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for today’s students, supplementing in-school activities with quality afterschool programming has been shown to both improve learning outcomes and build interest in these fields. Read below to learn some key findings from leading research institutes on the benefits of participation in an afterschool STEM program for students who are curious about these fields.

 

Developing 21st-Century Skills

As emerging technologies continue to disrupt and evolve industries across all business sectors, our students must learn how to adapt to these changes. To achieve this, educators have increasingly promoted the importance of developing 21st-century skills – “soft-skill” abilities needed to excel in today’s information age, such as collaboration, creative problem solving and persistence. Fortunately, a study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education that reviewed a decade of research found that afterschool programs excelled in promoting these very same abilities. Specifically, the team found that participating in afterschool programming improved students’ ability to communicate effectively and increased their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-efficiency.

 

Encouraging an Interest in STEM

Because job creation in STEM occupations continues to outpace overall U.S. job growth, helping children develop a skill set and interest in these fields from an early age will directly benefit our society. Research conducted by The PEAR Institute, Harvard University and Texas Tech University found that among their sample size of nearly 1,600 youth participating in 160 afterschool STEM programs around the country, a majority reported having increased interest in these subjects. Specifically:

  • “78% of students across all states experienced a positive change in their self-reported attitudes towards STEM interest following participation in their afterschool program.”
     
  • “80% of the students across the 11 states reported a positive gain in their STEM career knowledge following program participation.”
     
  • “73% of all students reported their STEM identity positively increased following afterschool program participation.”

Because there exists a direct correlation between a child’s positive attitude toward STEM subjects, and the likelihood they will pursue careers in related fields, activities that improve these sentiments are effective in helping close our nation’s STEM gap. These findings suggest that attending an afterschool STEM program can supplement what takes place during the school day and reengage students in their pursuit to learn more about these innovative subjects.

 

Learn More About Club Invention® Today!

Inspired by Camp Invention®, the flagship summer STEM experience from the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, Club Invention is an afterschool STEM program that encourages imagination, innovation and the persistence to overcome creative challenges. To learn more about the program, watch the video below or visit our website.

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