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After-School Programs Go Academic


Once, after-school classes meant bead-stringing, dabbling with paints and other low-stress endeavors for students, but in this age of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and its high-stakes requirements for improvement in math and reading, that has changed, according to this story in this month’s Edutopia magazine. Also, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find funding for these programs, the story says. If you think these after-school classes aren't important, an estimated 14 million K-12 students take care of themselves after school with no adult supervision.


It is unbelievable to think that in this day and age of what is happening in our society that we have so many young School Age children unsupervised when their academic school time has ended. Just as astounding is to find that we have no required formal training and/or staff development for those who work in our after school age programs. As a society we keep talking about our required continued need for staff development for our educators, but how about required staff development for those care givers for school age children during programs beyond their regular school day. Our beyond school day programs should all be adhering to School Age Child Care Quality Standards and coordinating all activities as they relate to developmentally appropriate activities and curriculum for school age children. Our care givers need to involve these school age children in the development of the activities and practices while creating a safe and secure and educational environment for them. With the help of National Organizations such as the National AfterSchool Association, (NAA), national competencies are being developed. We need to get our legislature on the local and national levels to see the need for required Staff Development. At Palm Beach Community College as well as a few other organizations some basic staff development is offered. We are working with a few organizations such as Prime Time of Palm Beach County to develop a pathway of success for those individuals who would choose to make a career in education using School Age training as the beginning of journey.

We are very blessed in our community in regard to our after school program. We have partnered with the YMCA to create PALS our after school program. Students in grades 1-4 are supervised from 6-8 a.m. and again from 3:30-6:00 p.m.

We let our kids be kids. They ulitze one of our mulit-purpose gyms or ulitze the whole playground; weather permiting. They run, laugh, play, read books listen to music etc.

Our voluteers work very hard to create that safe haven for our kids. Parents are extremely comfortable letting their child(ren)particpate in the PALS Program

For us the YMCA administers the financial aspect and they secure the voluteers.

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