In programmes that foster caring adult/child relationships, children thrive and achieve. There is a strong sense of community among the staff and volunteers of these programmes. Staff who have been working with the same after-school programme participants for a long time can spot behavioural changes in the children that indicate a need for help.
A child’s social and emotional development could also have a significant impact on a child’s academic performance in a safe and secure environment. After-school programmes must offer a wide variety of activities in order to attract as many young people as possible. Not all day-school programmes are created equal, so classroom-style instruction is not always better and needs to be supplemented with creative curriculum that is delivered by qualified, caring staff.
There were several recurring themes:
There is a high demand for services: For middle school students, there is a huge demand for out-of-school-time programmes, especially those who are most at risk without such opportunities.
2) The new neighbourhoods are out-of-school time programmes: Out-of-school-time programmes have become the new “neighbourhoods,” and as such, they are essential components of healthy communities, given demographic and residential housing patterns.
As a result of the general labour shortage, a long-standing over-reliance on part-time staff, and high staff turnover, after school programmes face significant personnel challenges.
Students’ academic success may be enhanced by programmes that provide a welcoming and safe environment, encourage social and emotional growth, and provide a variety of engaging structured activities for children and adolescents.
For example, funders have become increasingly prescriptive in their funding priorities (usually with an emphasis on activities explicitly aimed at academic support and career development), which can lead to a loss of focus on the social-emotional development of youth and the establishment of positive relationships between youth and adults, which are critical to the success of effective programmes.
Collaborating with local school districts and other organisations is a major challenge for out-of-school-time programme providers, especially those that are located in the same geographic area. However, there are a number of obstacles to this type of collaboration, especially the absence of staff time for the work required to build these organisational relationships………………………………………………….
If students in middle school do not participate in after-school activities, they are putting themselves in jeopardy. Middle-school students must be able to get to and from school on their own. Afterschool programmes for middle school students may be desirable, but only if they provide safe, reliable transportation to and from the children’s homes. Getting programmes to kids is much easier when schools prioritise providing and coordinating transportation. Many middle school students were dismissed a few minutes early so that buses could transport them from the school and back without disrupting the school bus schedules of the other students, as an example. Local networks of service providers can serve as “transportation loops” for a variety of programmes.
Young people benefit when their programmes are part of a larger network of services and shared programmatic efforts. Relationships between staff and teachers are critical to the success of a collaborative programme.
Youth’s new “neighbourhoods” are out-of-school-time programmes. Instead of the nearby homes and yards where kids could safely play after school, they’ve built these new structures. Nowadays, even children who have a mother or father at home in the afternoon rarely take part in unstructured play with other kids their own age. Even more importantly, it is widely accepted that youth who are left unsupervised or without a structured programme are more likely to engage in harmful activities.
The increased emphasis on academics has made it difficult to find time and money for recreational and other activities that help youth develop socially and emotionally.
If after-school programmes aren’t a priority for schools, then they should collaborate with them. Collaboration with schools is hindered by a number of factors. Among them are:
In the evenings and on weekends, teachers do not want students and other staff in their classrooms.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for teachers and administrators to focus on anything other than students’ academic progress and test scores. After-school programmes are becoming increasingly difficult to coordinate between schools due to a widespread perception that they have little bearing on academics.
It has become increasingly difficult for schools to collaborate due to severe financial constraints.
In order for these “extended day” programmes to be successful, public school teachers hired to teach after hours must understand that students need different instructional strategies. Students are unable to learn effectively if they are required to spend the entire school day focusing solely on academics. Collaboration with after-school programmes becomes even more critical in light of this development.
The out-of-school-time field has three major staffing issues:
First, there is a general labour shortage; second, most programmes hire part-time staff; and third, staff turnover is high. The majority of after-school programme staff are part-time paraprofessionals. Even in public schools, where a paraprofessional is employed by the school, this is true. Because part-time employees are only employed until they can find a full-time position with benefits, they contribute to a high turnover rate.