When there are so many activities on offer, and each one looks as exciting as the next, how do you compare them and decide what is right for your child.
Of course, you want to find an activity that your child will actually enjoy. However, you also want the activity to be balanced and facilitate learning and development.
Below is a list of characteristics that good after school activities should have; Clarity in objectives and goals is important to achieve. What exactly does the course offer? How does it aim to achieve the results? How many children are in a class? Ask these questions.
A good after school activity will provide lots of opportunities for the youngster to increase their level of understanding of complicated concepts. This
is true of recreational activities also. Learning to hit a ball, or dance in co-ordination to a song – regardless of the activity, children should be
encouraged to conquer new concepts. This not only keeps boredom at bay by challenging the youngster, but also builds up their self-confidence. Development of academic, personal and interpersonal skills are important objectives of an after school activity. As the skills develop, the youngsters self-esteem will also increase.
After school programs can help boost a child’s sense of competence. Good and effective after school activities promote the resilience of youngsters and encourage them to grow stronger, whether that be mentally, physically or emotionally.
Safety is also a very important factor in an after school activity. The staff should be adequately qualified. The surpervisors should maintain a cooperative and supportive attitude and a structured environment. Participation and collaboration should be encouraged and children should not be pushed to be too competitive.
Some programs involve the youngsters in planning activities and decision making. Adults often forget to get the opinions of their child. By giving the child an opportunity to voice their opinion, programs can become fun activities that children are driven to engage in. Children thrive when they are listened to, respected and encouraged to contribute.
Regular evaluations are an important part of an after school activity. If the youngster does not benefit from an activity, don’t waste time being
over-optimistic. Try something different.
You are now ready to look for the perfect after school program for your child. However, don’t let us forget that having fun is also a very important part
of growing up, so allow them adequate ‘free time’ also.