Most Before/After School Programs give children additional time and opportunity to engage in hands-on enrichment activities in reading, science, math, art, drama, and specific â€œsafetyâ€ topics that include conflict resolution and drug abuse. Most programs offer homework assistance and some offer tutoring. Most also provide supervised physical activity and healthy snacks, or even dinner. These school-age programs are often provided through local schools, child care centers, churches, or youth-oriented community organizations. Those that serve seven or more children, kindergarten age or older, are licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Those that are operated by public or private chartered schools may be licensed by the Ohio Department of Education.
What does this mean for me and my child?
Children in quality school age programs have substantially more time to interact with people and less time alone or watching television. The opportunity to talk with and learn from caring adults and children of varying ages can provide additional role modeling and support for positive behavior. Visit Ohioâ€™s Out-of-School-Time Project or CAP City Kids for more information about school age programs.
What should I look for in a school age program?
Quality features include opportunities for children to make individual and group choices about activities, opportunity to improve academic skills, spaces for children to relax and rest, well supervised spaces where they can be active, nutritious snacks, and parental involvement. Parents are encouraged to drop in at any time, and there are opportunities for parents to help with the program. Use a checklist when you visit, and if your child has special needs requiring accommodations, enhance your checklist with extra guidelines for choosing care.