Why Afterschool Programs Matter

The average school-aged child spends 80% of their waking hours outside of school.

These hours are crucial to their overall development, which is why every community should     have quality afterschool programs. 

Afterschool programs provide enrichment opportunities for students of all ages. Whether it’s art, sports, or computer coding, these programs offer a wide range of activities for students to develop their skills and interests. 

High-quality afterschool programs create benefits for students, families, and the community. First, they help students improve their academic performance and social skills. Second, they support working families who cannot be home after the school day. Finally, they promote community safety by reducing juvenile crime rates.

Academic Performance & Social Skills 

Students who participate in afterschool programs experience a significant boost in their academic performance. 1 in 2 students improve their math and reading grades, and 69% improve their homework completion. The extra academic support that these programs provide help students reach their full potential in school. 

Afterschool programs support students’ social and emotional well-being. When children have more opportunities to interact with others, they practice teamwork, problem solving, and communication skills. 

Children who attend high quality afterschool programs also:

  • Get excited about learning 
  • Improve work habits
  • Graduate at higher rates
  • Have better school attendance
  • Gain workforce skills

In afterschool programs, children can roll up their sleeves and have fun while learning important skills such as relationship building and critical thinking. These programs give students the tools to succeed in school and their everyday lives.

Supporting Working Families

1 in 5 children across America are alone when the school day ends. Because many parents are unable to come home before 6pm, this highlights the need for afterschool programs in all communities. 

Afterschool programs relieve the stress that many working parents face. In fact, 8 in 10 parents agree that afterschool programs provide peace of mind and help them keep their jobs. 

These programs also ease the financial burden of childcare. Parents who do not have access to childcare miss an average of eight work days per year, and this could be problematic for some families. With afterschool programs, parents no longer have to worry about breaking the bank to care for their child. 

Community Safety

The hours after school between 3 and 6pm are when juvenile crimes most often take place. When students are unsupervised, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Afterschool programs turn this risk into opportunity. In fact, students who spend 1 to 4 hours each week in extracurricular activities are 49% less likely to use drugs.

Afterschool programs create a space for students to develop the skills that will keep them out of trouble. When children build positive adult relationships and practice responsible decision making at a young age, these skills serve as protective factors that will keep them safe in the future.

Research makes it clear that quality afterschool programs are beneficial for youth, families, and the community. So how can we make these programs accessible to all students?

41% of Texas parents report that afterschool programs are not available in their community. If we want to invest in the futures of our youth, we must increase public support and funding for these programs. 

As research continues to uncover the benefits of afterschool programs, the demand for quality programs across Texas is on the rise. Providing students with unique learning opportunities allows them to develop the skills they need to thrive in their academic and personal lives. With afterschool programs, we can create a bright future for all Texas students. 

To learn more about why afterschool programs matter, please contact Austin Kids Can! today! https://austinkidscan.org/