Fast Forward to Fall: Afterschool Programs Yield Benefits
As the Summer draws closer and we begin to prepare for vacations and much-deserved relaxation, we also must understand that Fall will also be here sooner than we think! And with Fall comes new beginnings…such as a new year of school! For many families, part of that also means sports activities, club meetings and…the need for afterschool care. Evidence is mounting that where and how youth spend their time outside of normal school hours has important implications for their development. On the positive side, children and young adults benefit when they spend time engaged in structured pursuits that offer opportunities for positive interactions with adults and peers, encourage them to contribute and take initiative, and contain challenging and engaging tasks that help them develop and apply new skills and personal talents (American Youth Policy Forum, 2006; Carnegie Corporation, 1992; Larson & Verma, 1999; National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2002).
The main benefit of after-school programs is it widens your child’s interests. It helps him discover deep-seated talent for some activity and provides an opportunity to hone it further. Constant practice makes him more confident. In this age of endless possibilities, the child needs a variety of skills besides academic learning to succeed. Reduction in risk-taking attitudes like drug abuse, alcoholism, dropout etc. If they did not have an engaging activity, children usually fall in bad company. Research has proved that peer pressure is the leading cause for alcoholism or substance abuse. Enhancement of self-esteem. Participating in after-school activities develops the child’s talents in arts or sport. By becoming skilled at it, he receives recognition and appreciation that boost his self-esteem. Some of these programs coach for competitions too. The sense of achievement acts as powerful motivator for excellence.
After-school activities discourage children from watching too much television and computer games. This has positive influence on the mental development. Children also acquire social awareness by working in a group. They learn how to become a responsible citizen by following rules. Socialization is another skill that they pick up. They shed shyness or inferiority complex and learn to adjust well in a group. They learn the value of family ties as well as how to develop a positive relationship with elders. The supervisor or mentor is usually the guide and friend of the child. Children who attend after-school programs develop better communication skills. They also learn how to think on their feet. Besides improving school attendance and academic performance, the programs reinforce school learning with practical application.
For more information on Sun Country Sports Center’s FUNrichment Afterschool Program, visit us at suncountrysports.com OR give us a call at 352.331.8773.