The Case for After-School Programs
Afterschool programs refer to “an array of safe, structured programs that provide children and youth ages kindergarten through high school with a range of supervised activities intentionally designed to encourage learning and development outside of the typical school day.” After school programs support working families by keeping children and youth engaged and safe while parents work. These programs focus on safety, positive youth development, and academic enrichment and support (Little et al. 2007). Hosh Kids champions the need for afterschool as it’s a key component of educating the “whole child.” Our mission prioritizes the need for affordable cost and quality programming for all children. Investmenting in afterschool staff development is key. Children who attend afterschool everyday spend up to 30% of their school day with afterschool staff. And yet, afterschool staff receive limited staff development workshops and training in comparison to school day teachers. Our teaching volunteers and teaching artists demonstrate a dedication to school-day and afterschool yoga and enrichment programs based on applied principles of behavior psychology.
Does participation in afterschool programs make a difference in a child’s education? The answer is yes. In 2007, a two-year longitudinal Study of Promising After-School Programs examined the effects of participation in quality afterschool programs among almost 3,000 students. The students demonstrated significant gains in standardized math test scores when compared to other students who spent the after school period unsupervised. Regular participation in these types of programs was associated with improvements in work habits and task persistence as well (Vandell et al. 2007). In a review of thirty-five studies published in 2006, it was reported that the test scores of low-income, at-risk youth improved significantly in both reading and mathematics after they participated in after-school programs (Lauer et al. 2006). Therefore, research tells us that afterschool reinforces the life and academic skills taught during school day that become and contribute to developing habits for a healthy adulthood.
Another study, published in 2010, showed that, compared to controls, participants in after-school programs demonstrate significant increases in their self-perceptions and bonding to school, positive social behaviors, school grades, and levels of academic achievement, and significant reductions in problem behaviors (Durlak et al. 2010). This study concluded that after-school programs should contain components related to personal and social skills of children so that they can benefit in other ways that are not purely academic if these components are offered. After-school programs can be essential in improving the overall academic experience of a child.
Yoga can be an important component of afterschool programs as it helps improve all the areas mentioned above and it only requires a child’s breath and their body anywhere, anytime. For more information on the impact of children’s yoga and the Hosh Kids model, see our “Policy Briefs” section.