According to the Afterschool Alliance (2020), “School-age children and youth spend 80 percent of their waking hours outside of school, while 1 in 5 young people in the U.S. are alone after the school day ends.” (source)
Before and after school programs, sometimes called Out-of-School Time or OST, provide a variety of benefits to kids outside of school hours. These programs are not the same as what you might think of as daycare, nor are they only for young groups of children, such as infants and toddlers.
Here are some of the benefits of enrolling your school-aged children in a before or after school program:
1. Increased academic performance.
Kids who participate in before and after school programs experience increased academic performance. Not only do they have time to complete homework assignments, but they also have opportunities to learn and engage in learning in new and creative ways.
2. Improved social skills.
Before and after school programs usually offer a variety of group activities. These activities give kids the opportunity to meet and interact with new peers outside of school. Children also practice valuable social skills, like teamwork, responsibility, and listening.
3. More daily physical activity.
Another benefit of before and after school programs is the promotion of more physical activity. Rather than going home and heading straight to the couch, these programs encourage movement through fun games and activities.
4. Structure and safety outside of school.
A before or after school program can provide parents with peace of mind knowing that their kids are supervised and safe. The structure of out-of-school programs has even shown a reduction in behavioral problems at school and home.
5. Time to explore and have fun.
Finally, a before or after school program allows kids a chance to relax, explore, and have fun. Kids might discover a new interest, learn a new skill, or move around and burn off some extra energy or built-up stress.
The YMCA of Greater Whittier provides programs for Early Learners (ages 2-5), School Age Childcare (K-5th), and Middle School students. If you have questions about our childcare programs or any of the YMCA programs we’re currently offering, contact us today.