Learning After School

Every child needs an education. But traditional education, that which is taught in a standard school setting, cannot fully prepare a child for the expectations of our demanding society. Learning after school, through social programs and team-building activities, can help kids grow in every way.

After school programs are basically designed to develop talents or skills in areas that are ignored by regular school curriculums. The programs can be recreational or educational in nature, but they all share the intention of keeping kids active and interested.

The most important advantage of a good after school program is that it broadens your child's area of interests. He or she is introduced to new opportunities, challenges and fun activities. Mastering a new skill or art form does wonders for increasing the child's self-esteem. Learning after school in a good program can even help shape your child's future career path. Children attending music class may find they love it so much, they want to make a career of music in the long run.

Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs. Your child will meet other kids with similar interests, and learn valuable lessons about friendship and teamwork. An acting class or a soccer team can be lots of fun. Good coaches and instructors will also take a leadership role in preparing children for games and performances. Performing on stage or playing in the big game can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for a young child.

Opportunities for learning after school aren't exclusively for younger kids. After school programs can also keep your teenager happily busy. When teens are involved in sports, music or community programs, they are less likely to become involved in destructive behaviours like drug or alcohol use. Studies indicate that kids who are kept busy through diverse and absorbing activities are less prone to abuse, burnout and depression. A good after school program can bring significant increases in personal and academic achievement and school attendance, while reducing the probability of dropping out of school.

Kids of all ages need good role models. When given opportunities for learning after school, children are usually interacting with one or more responsible adults. The benefits of a positive adult relationship with an adult can help children to mature and develop in a positive, productive way. Children face serious issues every day, but aren't always comfortable confiding in a parent or teacher. An after school program coach or counselor can be a trusted confidante and offer valuable advice.

Many parents enroll their children in recreational programs to help them stay active, remain healthy or lose weight. Recent trends indicate that about 15 percent of children below the age of 16 are considered to be obese. Parents who cannot or choose not to place their children on a strict diet will often choose after school sports as an alternative. With cases of obesity in children and childhood diabetes on the rise, sports programs and physical activity has become a prime focus of many after school programs.

After school learning opportunities keep children entertained and busy, so they don't have time to waste away their afternoons in front of computers or televisions. Kids are so busy burning excess energy and exploring their creativity, they don't realize that the after school program is helping to develop their social skills and shaping their overall personalities.

Our society demands expertise in everything, and no child can receive the complete development he or she needs simply from textbook lessons. In this age of specialization, children should taken advantage of opportunities to learn and grow in every possible area. Check your local listings for advantageous programs to get your child involved in learning after school.

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