Tips for finding an afterschool program
Published 10:00 am Sunday, July 7, 2019
Today’s children grow up differently than their parents did. Technology has changed the way students learn in the classroom, but perhaps the biggest difference between how today’s kids grow up and how their parents have raised concerns the dynamic at home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 both parents worked in 63 percent of households that were home to married-couple families with children. Many of those parents likely did not grow up in households in which both of their parents worked full-time throughout their childhoods, marking a significant difference in the dynamics of modern families compared to those of yesteryear.
Afterschool programs take on heightened importance when both parents work full-time, especially if neither parent works from home. Many schools and community organizations offer afterschool programs. While it’s great to have options, too many options can make it daunting for parents to find the program for their children. The Afterschool Alliance (www.afterschoolalliance.org), which works to ensure all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs, offers the following tips to parents as they look to find afterschool programs for their children.
- Contact educators at your child’s school. Many schools have afterschool programs on school premises. Speak with school administrators or teachers about school-sponsored afterschool programs. Even if a school does not have such a program, educators might be able to provide a list of nearby programs other students attend.
- Contact community organizations. The Afterschool Alliance notes that many community organizations, such as the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the 4-H Council, may offer afterschool programs. Local churches, synagogues and mosques also may offer afterschool programs to local families, regardless of their religious affiliation. When speaking to community organizations, discuss how kids are typically transported from school to the program.
- Speak with fellow parents and neighbors. Your community is a great resource. Fellow parents and neighbors, even those whose kids may be in high school or even out of the house, may be able to recommend local programs. Reach out at school-sponsored events or via social media.
- Contact your local government. Local government offices and officials also can help parents find afterschool programs in their communities. Local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (www.childcareaware.org) can be valuable assets for parents having trouble finding afterschool programs for their children.
Afterschool programs are invaluable to families in which both parents work. Finding the right program may involve a combination of strategies.