How Afterschool Programs Positively Impact the Youth in Our Community
Did you know that afterschool programs promote positive youth development and offer a safe space where youth can explore their potential?
Effective afterschool programs provide learning settings that bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families, and communities. Afterschool programs can support social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe and supportive environment for children.
Discover the six most important benefits of afterschool programs and how they positively impact the youth in our community:
1. Strengthen Lifelong Learning at any Age
A good, high-quality afterschool program can be a productive learning time for children. For children who learn and think differently this is a key benefit. An afterschool program with a wide offering of activities can foster multiple intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical…etc.) and offer your child a variety of ways to learn setting them up for success in the long run.
2. Improve Brain Function and School Performance
Participating in afterschool programs is directly linked to better brain function and better school performance. Studies have shown that elementary school students who exercised for about an hour a day in an afterschool activity had better cognitive skills and were more focused than students who did not engage in much physical activity.
3. Improve Social and Emotional Skills
Further research also shows that valuable skills in children such as communication skills to problem solve through critical thinking, self-awareness, or assertiveness develop while in after-school activities. During afterschool programs, children learn how to work as a team and become self-reliant by offering ideal conditions for social learning.
4. Promote Healthy Habits
Research has found that quality afterschool programs are an important contributor to children’s physical activity. Some studies suggest that high activity during early childhood may ‘track’ into high activity during early adulthood, suggesting that active kids make active adults. Maintaining a physically active lifestyle across a lifespan is a key component of optimal health and well-being.
5. Boost New Talents
After school, children may be more willing to try new things and discover new passions. This, in turn, can lead to higher self-esteem and self-awareness. Psychologists often promote the importance of learning as much as possible about yourself to find your passions in life. Afterschool programs are a great way for children to take positive risks to find what they truly enjoy doing.
6. Provide a Safe and Supportive Environment
Positive relationships with others during afterschool programs foster a sense of belonging and acceptance. Afterschool activities provide a safe, positive, and supportive environment where kids can spend the last hours of the day doing something meaningful and productive.
A good afterschool program can help to strengthen and support social, emotional, and cognitive skills. These are key benefits, especially for kids who learn and think differently.
However, it is important to note that access to high-quality programs is not always equitable. There can be significant disparities based on income and education, transportation, and cultural and developmental appropriateness of programming, among other factors. While nationwide 9 in 10 adults reported that afterschool programs are important to their community, more than 19 million children are unable to enroll in an afterschool program.
This is the reason why PYTCo offers free programming throughout the year to children of all ages and backgrounds. Over the past decade, our PYTCo Theatre Camp has serviced over 500 youth at absolutely no enrollment cost.
To learn more about our Community Programs and how they positively impact children of all ages, please visit www.pytco.org/community-programs.