The Path To Finding Better

Importance of and Qualities of a Good After-school Program

Children need plenty of attention as they grow up. There are institutions in place to provide such attention and guidance. The family is the first one, with parents who will oversee their activities, monitor their behavior, and teach them a lot of things. School is the next institution, where they go for their formal education, as well as a chance to learn other things in life. The church and such socio-spiritual institutions make for the other places where kids get attention and guidance.
In a day, parents and teachers oversee the kids for a given number of hours. With other things demanding the attention of parents such as work, it is hard for them to be there the moment a child is from school until they have to go to school. It is why reports indicate that the hours between a child leaving school and being with their parents or guardians at home are when the most damage can be done to the child. From peer pressure, bad examples, exposure to dangers such as violence and sexual assault, those two to three hours can change the life of your child, for the worst. It does not have to be this way. It can be the time to change their lives for the better.
Afterschool programs are designed to occupy that time between kids leaving school and meeting their parents at home. A good afterschool program has certain qualities that make it effective. You do not want to enroll your child in one that only serves to waste their time.
A good program is one in which kids feel the need to keep attending. They need to be consistent in their attendance if they are to gain anything out of the program. There are better long term effects from such persistent participation. The program, therefore, needs to have activities that pique their interest, address their needs, fits right into their schedule, and gives them new ideas, challenges them, and introduces them to new people and positive influences.
The program also needs to have qualified staff and a good approach to programming. There is a need for imparting the values a child needs as they develop into responsible adults. They need to be taught strategies to help them navigate the confusing time that is adolescence and young adulthood. It is important that the programs aim to produce socially, emotionally, and physically competent individuals. The staff also need to be well trained in their various duties, and most importantly, in their approach. Most of them may be volunteers, but they will be effective if they have been at the center for some time, they understand how to communicate with the kids, they have cordial relationships and rapport with them, they are good examples for the kids to emulate, they do not hesitate to give feedback and guidance, they can motivate the kids, and engage well with the leadership. With such individuals in the supervisory positions, the program will be implemented successfully.
The afterschool program then needs to be part of the community, prized by all stakeholders, supported in its mission, and a member of the society, a part of the wider community and family. It should be easy for parents to send their kids there during those free hours, and accessing the leadership should not be a problem. That sense of community makes it easy for people to point out any issues, and to feel the need to resect its mission and to invest in its success.

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