"Children's minds don't close down at 3 p.m."- Richard W. Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Afterschool programming, also known as out-of-school time (OST), is valuable to students, families and communities alike. The benefits are wide-ranging, and the opportunities provided to those attending these programs help to create a positive future for the students.
Why Afterschool Programs Matter
For many families, there is a gap in adult supervision between the end of the school day and the time parents arrive home from work.” Afterschool programming provides a safe, reliable place for students during this time, while offering the opportunity to continue learning a variety of skills,
Edutopia states that social-emotional learning (SEL) improves student achievement by 11 percent, increases prosocial behaviors and fosters a positive attitude toward school.
According to Edutopia, they key elements of SEL are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. Afterschool programming gives students an opportunity to practice these skillsets in ways that apply to life both in and out of the classroom.
Boosting Academic Performance
According to youth.gov, over 40 percent of afterschool program attendees improve their reading and math grades; regular attendance amplifies these results. Additionally, afterschool programming can help to increase school attendance, improve classroom behavior, decrease the likelihood of dropping out and boost academic aspirations in students.
Why STEM Programming Is a Good Choice
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming offers students the opportunity to experience hands-on learning, so they can better understand concepts and ideas learned in the classroom.
Learning based outside of the traditional classroom style allows for individualized or personalized learning, which encourages students to work at their own pace. It also allows students to use their hands and minds to come to a solution in their own way – not a specific way, as is often the case in classroom learning.
Preparing for the Future
STEM skills are applicable in many different aspects of life. The lessons and concepts learned from STEM education are key elements in preparing youth for success in the future.
The STEM Ed Coalition shares a few benefits of afterschool STEM programming:
- Increases young people’s interest in and understanding of STEM
- Provides youth with strong role models
- Helps to reduce the achievement gap between youth from low- and high-income families
Interested in bringing STEM afterschool programming to your community?
Check out Club Invention – a weekday afterschool program that encourages children to test their imaginations and learn new things through exciting, hands-on, creative problem solving activities.