A Closer Look at the Ongoing Debate for After-School Programs

Hi! Thank you for checking back with me this week. Today I am going to look closer at the after school programs and what are some of the problems educators face (beside funding).

After school programs are at the core of ELO Programs. However, the ongoing debate that many educators face today is what the after-school programs should look like. So educators advise that the programs should reflect core academic subjects and aid students in improving their math, science, and academic skills by providing homework help, and engaging students in activities that reflect these academic values. On the other side, the argument made is that kids should be allowed a break from school and academic work and should get to explore their hobbies, such as, playing sports, drawing, reading, etc. This is further explored in my previous blog in which I said that kids should get a chance to explore things outside the classroom and learn skills and experience things that a classroom setting does not provide for.

The question to ask at this point is what is the primary goal of after-school programs. If it is to even the playing field for kids who do not have the opportunity to take advantage of private tutoring and help outside the classroom, then we should allow for the more academic programs. On the other hand, if it is to expand a child’s knowledge and give kids experiences that a school cannot provide, then we should focus on allowing kids to pursue their hobbies and explore different areas. The ELO Program outlines that its purpose is to do both. However, it is hard to find a balance between the two.

On a side note, I have started working as an After-School Camp Counselor. This helps me explore the after-school programs directly. I believe that this debate would aid in what activities we do with the kids in the after-school program. Right now, at my organization, there is more of an emphasis on doing things outside of the academic sphere, and allowing kids to draw, play games, and socialize. However, if kids may choose, they can also do homework during the time. Although, right now, kids that chose to spend this after-school time doing homework do not get the right staff to tutor them and help them with their homework. So if these programs were to decrease how money plays a role in learning, they would need to hire trained staff to aid kids in homework.

What do you think the primary goal for after school programs are and why?

-Girl 2

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4 thoughts on “A Closer Look at the Ongoing Debate for After-School Programs

  1. nmsides says:

    After reading this article, I think that there should just be different after school programs. Why can’t one after school program focus on schoolwork and tutoring while another focuses on out of school activities? It seems to me that each child/student should be looked at as an individual, not all children/students as a whole. If one child is falling being his or her classmates in academics, it seems to me that that child should get some academic help from the after school program. Also, if a child is excelling in school, he or she can practice hobbies and learning new, non-academic skills.
    However, as I was writing this I realized that not all schools have the resources for multiple after school programs. So, in cases like that, I agree with the approach that your organization is implementing. Giving children the option to get help with school or do other activities seems like the best option. Although, I do believe that if the staff cannot adequately tutor the children, changes to the staff should be made. I believe that making sure all students are academically prepared needs to be the focus of these programs.

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    • Girl2foreducation says:

      Hello! Thank you so much for you comment and taking the time to discuss this important issue. Yes, in the beginning I also thought that there could be different programs used for different things and that some could focus on academics and others on other activities, however, I have realized that these programs that exist in such a way, are private businesses that only certain kids can access. It is important to answer the question about what these programs should look like, because once there is a consensus, it will allow the funding to go to the programs that are more beneficial for the students. In return, these types of programs will expand in different communities, allowing more kids to access them.
      Thank you so much once again for checking in with me this week. Come back next week to continue the discussion about these programs!
      -Girl 2

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  2. 3girl4education says:

    Hi! Wow- great post! I enjoyed reading it and liked how you gave two arguments and two sides “of the story” for readers to connect with and explore. This is a tough topic as I can absolutely see the points made on both sides that you provided.

    My cousins were involved in ESL programs for most of their middle and high school years and loved it and really seemed to thrive from it- both from a educational stance and a social stance. I think it helps kids stay well rounded and involved. AND it allows them to begin exploring things they enjoy from having hands-on experiences, not just from learning it in a book everyday. I also believe that the decision to place a child into an ESL program should be carefully decided by the parent(s) as it is not for every child. Some children do better staying within a structured learning environment (like most public schools) and have too many distractions from ESL programs. Either way, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives and should be supported and funded as much as possible!

    In this day and age, we NEED our children to stay involved in healthy, positive activities and avoid all the negative bad influences that seem to so easily kidnap the minds of children lately. ESL programs with help young ones see, explore and understand the world through fun, energetic, tactile ways.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts next week! Happy Friday!

    -Girl 3

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    • Girl2foreducation says:

      Hello Girl 3! Thank you so much for your insightful comment and for sharing your stories about the ELO Programs. I would just like to make a little clarification about your comment. The ESL programs and the ELO Programs are two different programs, and the ELO Programs are the ones I am focusing on. Thank you for sharing the experiences your cousins had in these programs. I have a question for you? Why don’t you think that the ELO Programs are for every kid? Why do you believe that they are only for certain kids? I think that every child can benefit from these programs, if these programs took a holistic approach. Then the kids could specifically choose what area they wanted to focus on. What do you think needs to be done to make these programs inclusive?
      Thank you once again for checking in with me this week! Come back next week and follow me in my exploration about these programs.
      -Girl 2

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