September 7, 2022

The Importance of an Effective After-School Program

Effective afterschool programs help children develop skills they'll need later on in life. Discover what makes a great one!

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‍Did you know that students participating in afterschool programs statistically perform better academically and socially? According to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Research consistently demonstrates that high-quality afterschool programs have a positive impact on students' educational outcomes, school attendance, and social and emotional learning.” Offering high-quality afterschool programs can significantly enhance the well-being of students, providing them with numerous benefits.

Of course, not all programs are created equally. When selecting a program for their students, schools must be mindful to ensure they’re providing the best options for their students’ afterschool experience.

The best programs for kids focus on academic success, social development, practical skill-building, and emotional well-being. These programs equip students with essential life skills while fostering a supportive and fun learning environment. They also provide opportunities for parents to learn new things!

Focus on the Child's Needs.

A good afterschool program considers the needs of a developing mind. It should facilitate skill development, socialization, and the cultivation of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills such as time management, self-awareness, and cooperation. A quality afterschool program will teach students how to manage stress, set goals, and collaborate with others. With this emphasis on emotional well-being, students will learn to be happier and healthier.

‍In addition to SEL development, children need a space to apply and reinforce what they’re learning in the classroom. Programs with a multidisciplinary approach help students make connections to the subjects they’re learning. A valuable afterschool program strengthens academic subjects like science, social studies, language arts, and math in a fun and engaging way.

Provide Activities That Are Fun and Challenging.

‍After a day of rigorous academics, students seek opportunities to unwind with enjoyable activities. A successful afterschool program considers this, allowing time for students to play, unwind, and relax. 

‍While engagement and enjoyment are essential, afterschool programs must also deliver valuable lessons. They should strike a balance between education and fun, encouraging students to challenge themselves and apply academic knowledge creatively. Integrating innovative approaches and ‘meeting students where they are’, can further enhance students' learning experiences.

Offer Opportunities For Social Interaction.

The best afterschool programs provide a space for students to socialize with peers with similar interests. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork will help students develop social and emotional skills and feel part of their school’s community. Learning how to make friends, build relationships, and form friendships should be a pillar of a child’s education. 

Especially after two years of remote and hybrid learning, students need opportunities to reconnect with their peers. Participating in programs emphasizing peer-to-peer relationships can help students recover from those two difficult years.

Include Parents In The After School Process.

Keeping parents informed is crucial. Celebrating children’s successes will give students a sense of accomplishment and an understanding of how they can improve. For that reason, Mastery Coding courses emphasize acknowledging their challenges, and showcasing their efforts!

Additionally, parents need to understand why these programs exist and what they're trying to accomplish. Transparency in program objectives not only boosts enrollment but also reassures parents that their children are utilizing their afterschool time effectively.

Parents also need to be involved in the process so they can help support their child's success. Clear milestones and progress reports alleviate parental concerns and enable them to gauge the program's value for their child. Reviewing projects and hearing their children happily and excitedly report their progress instills confidence in parents that their children are thriving in a productive environment.

Have Flexible Courses And Adaptable Instructors

Every group of students is unique, so having a curriculum that can accommodate that makes for a more valuable and inclusive educational experience. Extracurricular courses should feature instructors who can identify and adapt to students' needs effectively.

For that reason, afterschool program providers should carefully select instructors who possess expertise in the subject matter and age-appropriate teaching methodologies. Hiring instructors should involve assessments of an employee’s adaptability and charisma.

Courses should also be designed to allow instructors to customize their classes according to student feedback. Flexibility in curriculum design empowers instructors to modify lessons constructively when necessary.

Set your students up for afterschool success with Mastery Coding. We ensure that our afterschool programs are both engaging and effective, featuring unparalleled professional esports instructors! Explore our selection of camps, clubs, and afterschool programs to turn your gamers into makers with our award-winning curriculum.


Olivia has background in behavioral ecology and data analysis. She develops and implements SEO, CRO, social media strategy, and authors multi-disciplinary content for our blog, & our social media sites. She's contributed to many of the STEM tie-ins within our curriculum, authored our SEL course, and is a specialist in neurodiverse learning strategies.

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