As this school year comes to a close, both parents and educators are planning for the next. One question that many parents must answer in their planning is what to do with after school time.
Beyond providing a safe, structured environment that fills the gap between the end of the school day and the time parents typically return home from work, after school programming can offer many valuable benefits for children. As you evaluate options for your child’s after school activities, look for the benefits below to choose the right program.
Enhanced Learning Opportunities
High-quality after school programming can offer educational enrichment that builds on topics explored during the school day, or even introduces new concepts and skills. Look for a program that provides valuable learning through experiences your child will enjoy, such as hands-on activities and guided play.
The STEM Maker Lab® program offered by the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), for instance, builds on classroom learning by giving educators a flexible makerspace curriculum that incorporates topics like innovation and intellectual property (IP). After school programs like this one can take your child’s education further while introducing them to new ideas and possibilities.
As after school programs give children the opportunity to explore foundational and/or supplemental concepts, they can also boost children’s engagement and performance in school.
With the right program, children can find greater enjoyment in learning and even make gains in subject areas they find especially challenging. Research shows that after school programs can influence participants’ academic performance in many ways, including more positive attitudes toward school, better attendance rates, improved homework completion, higher grades and achievement test scores, and even greater educational aspirations.
Confidence and Social Skills
By giving children the opportunity to interact with peers and adults outside of the typical classroom setting and structure, after school activities can help build essential soft skills. According to a new report from the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and the Susan Crown Exchange, after school programs can help build skills in key areas including emotion management, empathy, teamwork, initiative, responsibility and problem solving.
The Club invention® program, which takes the proven success of NIHF’s Camp Invention® summer program and applies it to an after school curriculum, provides an experience that not only supports STEM learning but also boosts confidence, creative problem solving and collaboration.
Looking for more information that can help you choose the right programming for your child? We invite you to visit our website to learn more about STEM Maker Lab, Club Invention and a range of other NIHF education programs.