Home > School and Learning > Your Child's School > After-School Activities > The Importance of After-School Programs
|

The Importance of After-School Programs

Do you know what your child is doing when the school bell rings at the end of the day? More than 14 million students leave school every afternoon and have nowhere to go, since they do not have access to affordable, after-school opportunities. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC), nine out of ten Americans think all youth should have access to after-school programs, but two-thirds of parents say they have trouble finding programs locally. The bad news is that the situation may be getting worse.

After-school hours are the peak time for juvenile crimes and risky behaviors, including alcohol and drug use. NYVPRC found that children who do not spend any time in after-school activities are 49 percent more likely to have used drugs and 37 percent more likely to become a teen parent. Kids are also at the highest risk of becoming a victim of violence after school, particularly between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The highest amount of juvenile crime occurs between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., the hour after most children are dismissed from school.

Q: When your elementary-aged kids get out of school, they:

64% 

Go home, where a parent is waiting.

6% 

Go home, where a sitter is waiting.

15% 

Go to a friend's house or an afterschool program.

10% 

Go home and wait for me (or my spouse).

4% 

Who knows? Just as long as they show up for supper!

5428 Total votes cast.

The NYVPRC defines after-school programs as safe, structured activities that convene on a regular basis in the after-school hours and offer children opportunities to learn new skills. The skills students learn can range from technology and math to reading and art. Some programs also offer opportunities for internships, community service, or mentoring. These programs have been shown to improve academic achievement, as well as relieve the stresses on working families. According to the NYVPRC, most experts agree that after-school activities can serve as important strategies for youth violence prevention and intervention, and can also help students develop into responsible adults. A report by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S Department of Justice shows that students in after-school programs have fewer behavioral problems and more self-confidence, and can handle conflicts better than students who are not involved with these programs. In addition, according to the Harvard Family Research Project, after-school programs help students from low-income families overcome the inequities they face in the school system.



|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

easter fun
& crafts

Egg-cellent ideas
for tons of
Easter fun.

GO

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.