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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!

Did you know that students who participate in afterschool programs statistically perform better in their academics? Children and teenagers that regularly engage in extracurriculars improve their social skills, build confidence, and are even less likely to get involved in risky activities too! With so many benefits, providing high-quality afterschool programs is an excellent way for schools to improve the well-being of their students.

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. They also provide opportunities for parents to learn new things too!

Focus on the Child's Needs.

A good afterschool program takes into account the needs of a developing mind. Afterschool programs should help students learn new skills, and make friends. But, it should also help develop SEL skills like time management, self-awareness, and cooperation too! A quality afterschool program will teach them how to manage stress, set goals, and work with others, among other social and emotional skills. With an emphasis on emotional well-being, students will learn to be happier and healthier.

Along with building SEL skills, children need a space to apply and review what they’re learning in the classroom. Providing programs with a multidisciplinary approach will help students make connections to other subjects they’re already learning. A valuable afterschool program will bolster academic subjects like science, social studies, math, and language arts.

Provide Activities That Are Fun and Challenging.

After a long day of serious academics, many students yearn for a chance to decompress with fun activities. A successful afterschool program considers this, allowing time for students to play, unwind, and relax. 

Making afterschool content engaging and enjoyable is a necessity, especially when it follows many hours of classes. But, it mustn't be all play - parents expect their students to gain valuable lessons from additional programs! Afterschool programs must strike a balance between education and fun. These programs should provide fun in a way that encourages students to challenge themselves with new strategies and ways to apply their academic knowledge outside the classroom.

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. 

After two long years of remote and hybrid learning, students especially need opportunities to interact with their peers. Encouraging participation in programs that emphasize peer-to-peer relationships can help students recover from these last two difficult years.

Include Parents In The After School Process.

Keeping parents informed is paramount. Celebrating their 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. Program transparency doesn’t just improve sign-ups, it also provides parents with a sense of security that their children are making valuable use of their after-school time. Keeping parents informed aids them in assessing the value of a program for their child.

Parents also need to be involved in the process so they can help support their child's success. Courses with clear milestones and reporting remove some of the burdens off of parents to verify whether their child is indeed growing from a program. Reviewing projects and hearing their children happily and excitedly report their progress will provide ease of mind that their children are in a productive environment.

Have Flexible Courses And Adaptable Instructors

Every group of students is different -having a curriculum that can accommodate that makes for a more valuable and inclusive educational experience. Extracurricular courses should provide instructors that can identify the needs of their students and willing to adapt the course to fit them. 

For that reason, afterschool program providers should select their instructors carefully. Instructors must be both knowledgeable in the subject material and in educating their students’ age group. Hiring instructors should be taken seriously, with assessments of an employee’s adaptability and charisma. 

Courses should also be built to allow instructors to customize their classes. When they identify that their students aren’t resonating with a lesson, they should have the freedom to modify - and the resources to do so constructively. 

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

Authors

Olivia is Mastery Coding's Content Marketing Director based in Portland, Oregon.