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5 Must-Haves for Afterschool

Criteria for the Best Afterschool Programs

Imagine being a kid today. You spend all day sitting at a table or desk. If you’re in early elementary, you’re often sitting on the floor, walking in lines from homeroom to the cafeteria to the gym to the playground. You have to be quiet. The school bell rings at the end of the day and you aren’t able to go home. What do you want to do? You just want to … be a kid! Run, laugh loudly, do a puzzle, read with someone, make a yummy treat, maybe even just rest. Which programs offer such a variety for working parents to give their kids?

Family Lynchpin. Afterschool programs are a societal lynchpin for working parents. Parents are often vying with their neighbors for coveted (inexpensive) SACC positions because the alternative simply breaks the bank. The rising cost of afterschool programs keeps the best options out of reach for the typical northern Virginia family with a median income. It is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to prioritize afterschool elements to find the best fit for their children. What works for one child in the family may not work for another. 

Safety. After-school hours are primetime for our children. It’s when they unwind from the day, relax and rejuvenate. Children less than 12 years-old should never be left home alone and children up to age 13 reap critical benefits of community in those important afterschool hours – keeping them free from risky behaviors they could otherwise be exposed to. Research shows that between 3 and 6pm are when kids are most likely to make poor choices or become the victims of crime.

Child Development. Robust after-school programs have tremendous influence in the development of our children. They create a sense of belonging, improve social skills, provide academic support, make learning more fun, offer safety and supervision, and build confidence. This is a tall-order that typically comes with a high price-tag attached to it. 

Quality, Affordability, and Location. This elusive triad centralizes the decision-making process for parents. Parents want to provide their kiddos with the absolute best environment with professionals striving for excellence daily at a convenient location. And the kids don’t want to be bored. Kids crave boundaries, creativity, and safety. Few programs have the ability to personalize experiences to meet a child’s individual needs. Parents want to minimize commuting and blend errands with pick-ups. 

Top 5 Activities Provided. Most afterschool programs specialize in one area. Programs offering a mix of activities and experiences usually tip the affordability scale. Providers that customize registrations to make afterschool care budget-friendly meet the needs of young families. The top five extra-curricular activities for children up to age 15 include sports, cooking, gymnastics, martial arts, and STEM activities and provided by experienced early childhood professionals. 

True Athlete Performance trainers offer a variety of sports and physical activities and can be available both at their own locations and have the flexibility to run programs at your facility. Partnerships with local, Cafes, Gymnastics, or Martial Arts facilities expose kids to new skills and the opportunity to chase a new dream!

Which program offers the best way to steward your family’s resources, defrays many costs from families, and provides transportation for students? These three factors maximize a family’s investment. It’s a huge endeavor to find the place both empowers the family by freeing up financial resources while providing outstanding care and growth opportunities for children.