6 BENEFITS OF AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Are after-school activities important? After a year without these activities, we have truly learned how important time for leisure is for our children and families.

These are exciting times for the field of after-school education. Something has changed from last year: luckily, after-school activities are back and St. Peter’s School has increased the possibilities for our families to get involved in different activities and clubs beyond the school day. Robotics, chess, trail running or family yoga, among others, are added to our Afterschool Hub to strengthen learning, support social, emotional and cognitive skills, promote healthy habits, boost new talents, and provide a safe and supportive environment for children and youth. 

After a year without these activities, we have truly learned how important time for leisure and after-school activities are for our children and families. We are not the only ones that think so. According to different authors and studies, effective afterschool programs not only provide learning settings but also bring a wider range of benefits for children, families and communities. 

Discover the six most important benefits of participating in afterschool programs: 

1-Strengthen lifelong learning at any age:

A good after-school program can be a productive learning time. This is a great benefit, especially for those kids who learn and think differently. According to Gardner, people are not born with all the intelligences they will ever have. Therefore, experience and practice are important. For this reason, an afterschool program with a wide offer of activities that can foster multiple intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical…) and offer your child a variety of ways to learn is a good way to set your child up for success. Which types of intelligence would you like to reinforce in your child?

2-Improve brain function and school performance:

Participating in after-school activities is directly linked to better brain function and better school performance. A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois and published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that elementary school students who exercised for about an hour a day in an afterschool program had better cognitive skills and were more focused than students who did not engage in much physical activity. 

3-Improve social and emotional skills:

There is growing evidence that the social and emotional competencies children and young people develop while in after-school programs can contribute to their success in school and life. Called ‘Life skills’, these valuable skills include from communication skills to problem solving through critical thinking, self-awareness or assertiveness. Kids learn how to work as a team and be self-reliant. 

Moreover, after-school activities offer the ideal condition for this kind of social learning with small groups, sense of connectedness, opportunities to forge strong relationships among peers from the same or even different age groups… 

4-Promote healthy habits:

Active kids make active adults. Maintaining a physically active lifestyle across a lifespan is a key component of optimal health and well-being. There is some evidence to suggest that high activity during early childhood may ‘track’ into high activity during early adulthood. More specifically, researchers have found that quality after-school programs are an important contributor to children’s physical activity.

5-Boost new talents

Beyond the bell, kids may be more willing to try new things, discover new passions and take positive risks. This, in turn, can lead to higher self-esteem and self-awareness. Psychologists often promote the importance of learning as much as possible about yourself to find your passions in life. 

6-Provide a safe and supportive environment

Positive relationships with others in the afterschool hub or clubs foster a sense of belonging and acceptance. School provides a safe, positive and supportive environment where kids can spend the last hours of the day doing something meaningful and productive. Moreover, keeping kids busy can prevent them from engaging in high risk behaviour. This is great news for working parents, who can have a sigh of relief and round off the day with good quality childcare at your child’s school.

Finding the right afterschool activity for your child is key. Check all the after-school activities we have at St. Peter’s School and if you need help, do not hesitate to contact us afterschool@stpeters.es 

Verónica Guerra
After-school Activities Coordinator I Communication

RESOURCES

  • Gardner, Howard (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 
  • Noam,G; Biancarosa, B; Dechausay, N (2003). Afterschool Education: Approaches to an Emerging Field. Harvard Education Press. Book available