The Benefits of Quality After School Care
Many parents rely on afterschool programs to care for their child(ren) after they get out of school until they can pick them up after work. Often though, it is difficult to know which program to put them in when the benefits of one program are unclear as compared to those of another. Many research studies over the years have shown that there are indeed benefits to enrolling your child in an afterschool program, but only after certain conditions are met.
A study done at New York University that was recently published in Science Daily entitled Afterschool Programs Environments Linked to Academic Confidence and Skills details the effects of enrolling a child in an afterschool program. The study found that programs with positive, responsive and organized environments can have academic benefits for students.
These benefits include:
- Stronger academic skills
- Higher self-esteem and perception of one’s own academic skills
- Decrease in social and behavioral problems
- Higher engagement in classroom activities
How does The Brainery™ afterschool program at Stepping Stone School provide a positive, responsive and organized environment?
Stepping Stone School faculty are all trained on the technique of positive redirection. This is a technique in which the teacher will redirect a child from an inappropriate activity to an appropriate one using positive guidance techniques. Furthermore, only positive language is used in Stepping Stone School classrooms in order to foster a warm and positive environment for all of our students.
Stepping Stone School staff members are trained annually on responding to children’s needs in developmentally appropriate ways. Whether it is dealing with behavioral, social or emotional issues, the teachers at Stepping Stone School are well versed in the appropriate ways to handle the myriad of situations that arise on a daily basis in a school age classroom.
The Brainery™ at Stepping Stone School offers many layers of organization in our school age classrooms. To begin, we have a daily schedule that the children follow each day. This aids their ability to know what to expect next and makes transitions in the classroom much easier. Another layer of organization is the separation of children is schools with multiple classes into rooms of children with similar ages. Lastly, all Stepping Stone School classrooms are organized into learning centers which in addition to the benefit listed above, have also been proven to lead to greater engagement and therefore more learning from the activities in the centers.
Another paper on after school programs was published by the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) in February 2008 entitled After School Programs in the 21st Century: their Potential and What it Takes to Achieve It (Little, Wimer, & Weiss, 2008). In this report, the authors compile 10 years of research on school age programs to determine whether or not there are any benefits to enrolling your child in one. What they found was that there are indeed benefits and they are many, as detailed above, but that there are three requirements necessary for a child to reap the positive rewards.
These requisite conditions are:
- Access to and sustained participation in the program
- Quality programming and staffing
- Strong partnerships among the program and other places where the children are learning
So, how does The Brainery ™ afterschool program at Stepping Stone School check those boxes for your child?
Access to and sustained participation in the program
The Brainery™ at Stepping Stone School offers a unique curriculum full of engaging and entertaining activities each day. Featuring cooking, science, art and a variety of other activities each week, The Brainery™ offers children experiences that keep them wanting to come back day after day and year after year.
Quality programming and staffing
When your child enrolls in the afterschool program at Stepping Stone School, they will become part of one of the most advanced and innovated school age curriculums in the country. Our Future Leaders and Innovators™ afterschool curriculum features a Leader of the Week that relates to a weekly theme taught to the children through S.T.E.A.M activities. The staff members leading our programs are rigorously trained throughout the year and are constantly learning new and better ways to teach and relate to school age children.
Strong partnerships among the program and other places the children are learning
Outside of Stepping Stone School, there are two main places that the children are learning…school and home. We pride ourselves on maintaining quality relationships in both of these domains. We maintain open lines of communication with the local school districts in order to better serve the children in our care by coordinating what we are doing with the learning that is taking place while they are in elementary school. Furthermore, The Brainery™ prides itself on teaching the children things that they do not learn in school but still adhering to the TEKS standards while doing so. We also maintain communication with the parents both through face to face, daily interactions as well as our Platinum Learning Link™ electronic reporting system.
The Brainery™ afterschool program at Stepping Stone School is able to offer all of the conditions needed for children to reap the most benefits from an afterschool program. Not only that, but your child will also be participating in one of the most educational and forward thinking after school curriculums in the nation.
New York University. “Afterschool program environments linked to academic confidence and skills.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2017.
Little, P. M.D., Wimer, C, & Weiss, H.B. (2008, February). “After school programs in the 21st century: Their potential and what it takes to achieve it. Issues and Opportunities in Out-of-School Time Evaluation Brief No. 10.” Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project