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Improving After-School Programs

Increase the quality of after-school programs with our tips for bringing fun and learning to students after the clock strikes three.

It’s been said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” When parents depend on after-school programs to care for children a few hours past the scheduled end of the day, teachers want to ensure this time is used wisely. With nearly non-existent budgets and a limited number of hours, instructors must choose activities that will educate and engage students without requiring a lot of extra time and money.

after-school programsEffective Short Study

One mistake students and parents often make is believing that successful study time and success in the classroom are dependent on long hours spent poring over lessons. Encourage children in after-school programs to spend 10 minutes studying the day’s notes from each subject. The repetition of rereading notes will help students retain information. This technique is extremely effective, even when studying notes that are short in length. Add a bit of fun to the exercise by telling students you will work together to help them. Once the 10-minute study period for each subject has ended, sit with each child individually and quiz them on the material of their choice – preferably the topic that they find most challenging.

After-school programsIt’s All Fun and Games

Invest in bargain-priced sets of educational or classic games and organize children into groups to play together. Allow students to learn from each other while playing chess, backgammon, dominoes, or checkers. Games of strategy will help children learn to think critically while remaining calm and patient – skills that could carry over to problem solving during exams, or later during their careers. After a few weeks, organize a tournament during which students will compete with each other and showcase their new skills.

Phys Ed After School

After-school programsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children in United States should have at least one hour of moderate physical activity each day. It is recommended that children engage in aerobics, muscle strengthening, or bone strengthening exercises, alternating daily to ensure each type of activity is performed three times every week. While monitoring after-school programs, dedicate one or two days to promoting students’ fitness. Play different sports, such as basketball, soccer, flag football, or softball; lead dance classes by introducing children to different genres from around the globe; or lead a general workout that teaches students fitness basics including jumping rope, crunches, push-ups, and stretching.

After-school programsMake Them Feel Special

Students could be involved in after-school programs for many reasons, one of which might be that they live with parents whose work schedules are extremely busy. During the first few days of an after-school program, observe students and try to discover any likes or dislikes. Bring in their favorite snacks (after ruling out any allergies), try to find out what music they enjoy, and ask about sports and hobbies. Share any news regarding these activities, such as information pertaining to future band performances, and encourage students to attend with their parents for some necessary quality time.

Make the most of every student’s day – each day – in the classroom and during after-school programs. The support and dedication they receive from educators during after-school programs is a priceless, lifelong gift that they will remember and cherish.

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Dorothy Crouch is a California-based writer who has covered many topics such as financial technology, travel and the pet-goods industry. Born and raised in New York City, she pursued her undergraduate degree at Hunter College and an M.S., Publishing degree through Pace University. Combining her love of learning and curiosity of the world, Dorothy studied abroad at Dublin, Ireland’s Trinity College, igniting a passion for travel. Dorothy’s thirst for knowledge and love of learning has led her to travel the world and pursue higher learning, including scuba certification. A lifelong animal lover, Dorothy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their fish and two lovable, spoiled dogs.

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