What is an After School Activity?
An after-school activity is any organized program which invites youth to participate outside of the traditional school day. Some programs are run by a primary or secondary school and some by externally funded non-profit or commercial organizations. These after-school youth programs can occur inside a school building or elsewhere in the community, for instance at a community center, library, park, etc. Such activities are a cornerstone of concerted cultivation, giving children experience with leadership and dealing with adults. Such children are believed by proponents to be more successful in later life, and studies have indicated that most children involved in some enrichment class over a period of time are more successful academically than similar students not enrolled.
There is a myriad of organized after-school activities for children and youth. They can focus on a variety of activities or issues and many concentrate on the following:
- Sports, including soccer, baseball, scooter racing, hockey, swimming
- Performing arts, including dance, drama, ballet, choir, and band
- Creative arts, including painting, drawing, crafts
- Academic enrichment, including Cramming schools for literacy, mathematics, etc.
- Outdoor education, including Scouting, Girl Guides, Boys’ Brigade, Campfire, 4-H, cadets
- Financial literacy, including JumpStart, Junior Achievement, and others.
- Extracurricular activities in schools, including DECA, FBLA, language clubs, etc.
- Some programs compile several activities into one environment, including community centers and Boys and Girls Club of America.
The motivation for participating in an after-school activity is often that working parents wish their children to be supervised. Proponents often believe that if unsupervised, children may fall into criminal or undesirable activity such as drug-taking or teenage-sex.
In the United States, after school programs are increasing in number and popularity due to rising support from states and the federal government. Interest in utilizing after school programs for delinquent prevention increased dramatically after research found that juvenile arrest rates peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on school days. By keeping students involved in school related activities it lessens the chance for them to get involved in crimes, use drugs, tobacco or alcohol. After school programs give students role models and a safe place to learn and play. Many parents enroll children in after school programs so that their children are provided with opportunities for enrichment or academic improvement. Other parents are predominantly concerned with ensuring that their children are in an affordable, safe, supervised environment after school.
Some after-school activities are provided free of charge at the point of delivery, while the majority are for-profit businesses which charge for membership. They are sometimes government-funded, especially where it is believed that the parents may not be providing a good home environment, and so professional care may be better.
Opportunities to coordinate classes for registration, payment, seat monitoring and the collection of other information is available at Pay4SchoolStuff.com. Visit the website to learn more.