The Importance of Afterschool Programs |

The Importance of Afterschool Programs

Afterschool programs are undoubtedly an important tool for keeping your children safe and engaged in their schoolwork.

Posted on

22 June 2015

Last updated on 13 July 2017
The Importance of Afterschool Programs
A question many parents often face who have school-age children is this: what should you do with your child once the school bell has rung at the end of the day? Especially if you are a parent who works full-time and is unable to collect your children safely from school on certain days. Perhaps the solution is indeed an afterschool program; whether it is provided by the school or in the community. The hours after school time can be particularly dangerous to a student's structure in the day; they should all have access to a structured support system between the hours of finishing school and returning home with their parents. 

This is where afterschool programs become invaluable. But why are they so important? Because a well-structured afterschool program can effectively expand learning time for students, provide opportunities for collaboration with the broader community in which they live, and constructively fill those hours that, at best, are spent idly and, at worst, entice unsupervised youngsters to engage in high-risk activities. 

Homework Help

The general charge of an afterschool club is to help students succeed in school; and if homework is required by the school, then many afterschool programs see homework support as part of that mission. It is the responsibility of your child's school to combine well-designed homework, which can then be combined with other academic enrichment activities and homework help in afterschool activities. By doing this, your child will receive a well-rounded package of expanded learning opportunities that will potentially contribute to their school success! 

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A major benefit of an afterschool program that provides homework help for any child is the fact it alleviates stress from all members of their family. Afterall, students are not the only ones whose stress levels rise with homework. In today's society, where you may find more single parents and more dual-income families, the demands of home life leave little time for parents to offer homework help. Most parents want their children to do homework, and they understand the importance of connecting with what their children are doing in school, but dinner time, chores and leisure activities generally compete with homework time. Thus, by providing a structured and supportive space for homework time, afterschool programs can an invaluable ally of busy parents! 

Keep Them Safe

Protection and safety in Afterschool Program

The hours between the school bell has rung and when a parent returns home can vary between an hour to two hours, maybe even three. Especially in an economy where more dual-income families are more common now, ensuring your child's safety once they've finished school can result in stress and strain on a family as a whole. And in circumstances where your family may not have a maid or a driver or home-help, ensuring your child attends an afterschool program will ease any worries you may have regarding their safety. 

Our advice would be to contact your child's school directly to see what afterschool activities they have to offer, or alternatively seek any clubs within your home and town community. Make sure they have adequate and safe transport arranged between school and their program and ensure you know who is picking your child up and when. 

Clubs and Activities

Clubs and activities in afterschool program

Besides the necessary (and admit it, boring) homework after school, an afterschool program can provide brand new and engaging opportunities for your child to try out away from the generic and compulsory education they receive at school. Perhaps they have a particular hobby or interest that an afterschool club could help them to develop and engage in? Photography, football, swimming, historical studies, debate club, painting, drawing, dancing... There are far too many to suggest! Discuss with your child exactly what they might be interested in and try out the different clubs on offer around your community. 

SEE ALSO: Check out the full list of Dubai's After School Activities here!
The benefit of your child engaging in a club or activity during an afterschool program effectively gives them choice. A sort of responsibility? In the sense that they have the ability to try out different things, decide which ones they prefer and encourages them to develop that skill that may even prove very beneficial for them in the future. It gives them the chance to get excited about learning to pursue their own interests! It helps them to develop self-confidence as they explore new talents in areas that aren't necessarily approached by their regular school curriculum. 

Community Engagement

Community engagement in afterschool programs

Socialisation is a great advantage of afterschool programs. Children will have the opportunity to meet others who share their interests, and potentially make new friendships outside of their school. Plus, as afterschool programs allow children to interact with one or more adult, it allows the to benefit from positive relationships with adults. Children often find it difficult to confide in parents and teachers, but may open up to an adult at their afterschool club. 

Another huge benefit is that an afterschool program also provides a platform to overcome obstacles that schools face with parent engagement. For instance, community-based afterschool programs - that are also often staffed by members of the community - may be seen as more approachable by parents, thereby filling the role of "broker" between parents and schools. 

The skills students learn can range from technology and math to reading and art. Some programs also offer opportunities for internships, community service or even mentoring. Without a doubt, afterschool programs have been show to improve academic and behavioural improvements, as well as relieving stress on families back home.