After school programs are the perfect way to transform aimless hours into something productive and fun. Kids have the opportunity to learn new skills and make friends through clubs and classes, and it’s an experience that can shape their childhood in a positive way. Here’s why after school programs are so important for kids.
A fun way to learn
Many after school clubs have a rich schedule of activities for kids to get involved with, from sports and active pursuits to science, kitchen activities and arts and crafts. In this setting, there’s no threat of tests or grades, so children can really enjoy themselves and learn in an encouraging environment that offers the benefit of learning without them feeling like they’re back in the classroom. It can show children that learning can be fun too, as if they’re only exposed to learning through school, they may develop negative associations.
Sense of community
After school clubs are a fantastic way for kids to make new friends and being part of a club can foster a sense of belonging and community. Because it’s set apart from school, with its own cliques and social groups, it can be a great way for children to feel part of something else and to connect with their peers in a new environment. Kids in after school programs are more inclined to be included in a way that can be a challenge for some kids in school. And since after school clubs are local to where you live, they’ll have the option to meet up socially too.
The benefit and drawback of school is that it has a set curriculum, so all children learn the same basics skills. While this is a great thing, it can mean that children that don’t always find their passion or interest in the classroom. But after school clubs can provide a great avenue for discovery, both in terms of meeting people from backgrounds that are different to what they’ve experienced before and in terms of subjects that may not have been covered by their schoolwork. They’ll discover new things about themselves, and that’s always a positive.
It’s important that children develop confidence, as it applies to so many areas of our lives, from meeting new people to taking on challenges and visiting new places. The earlier children can feel empowered and confident, the easier they’ll find life later on. Confidence is an essential skill and it’s something that can be instilled in kids that attend after school clubs. They’ll be empowered to try new activities and talk to people they’ve never met before, and that can do wonders for their confidence and shape their personalities as they grow up.
Whether it’s the hours after school or the school holidays, time away from the classroom can quickly result in hours spent in front of the TV. And while there’s no harm in that in small doses – after all, we all need time to unwind, even youngsters – there are more productive ways that kids can spend their time and keep themselves entertained. Clubs keep the minds of kids sharp and proficient, ensuring that when they’re back in the classroom, they’re not struggling – it helps them to maintain skills and keeps their minds stimulated.
Build decision-making skills
Kids benefit from variety with after school programs – there’s a full roster of things for them to get involved with and that offers choice and options. But similarly, they can’t take part in everything, so one of the surprising benefits of an after school club is that it helps kids build their decision-making skills. They’ll need to decide what they want to try and what is important to them. They’ll need to think for themselves, instead of just following what others do, and it can encourage them to speak up for themselves and express what they enjoy and don’t enjoy, which is a valuable skill to have.
Whether it’s a place for your kids to make more friends, a practical solution to childcare for working parents or simply a fun place for your children to play and have fun, after school clubs offer a wide range of social and educational benefits.