Afterschool enrichment programs provide the hands-on learning experiences needed for students to play, grow, and explore outside of the classroom. These programs have been shown to spark students’ interests in STEAM subjects and equip them with skills, knowledge, and confidence to follow their curiosities towards a brighter future.
Supporting afterschool programs in your community means fostering an environment for students to grow academically and socially. A good afterschool program provides creative and enriching activities to challenge students, encourages both teamwork and leadership, improves communication skills, builds confidence, and provides educational enrichment opportunities that extend beyond the classroom curriculum. These programs also provide working families with a safe and supervised afterschool option for their children and have the potential to reach youth groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM.
Afterschool Alliance’s report America After 3PM compiles years of national household survey data regarding afterschool enrichment interest, accessibility, benefits, and challenges. Their most recent report demonstrates that the demand for afterschool enrichment is surging. Nationally, the number of parents in favor of public funding for afterschool programs is at an all-time high of 87%. In Illinois, 89% of parents support public funding for afterschool programs.
Though the vast majority of parents agree that all young people deserve access to quality afterschool and summer programs, many families face challenges accessing afterschool programs in their communities. On a national level, for every child enrolled in an afterschool program, three more children are left without access. In Illinois, for every child enrolled in an afterschool program, four more are waiting for a program. Cost and availability were reported as the top hurdles keeping students from afterschool program participation. Based on the information gathered by Afterschool Alliance in 2020, 24.6 million children would participate in an afterschool program if one were available to them. Snapology hopes to help expand afterschool enrichment accessibility to students and families in need through public partnerships.
We know that afterschool opportunities benefit the whole community - from students and their families to educators and public facilities. To raise awareness of the need for afterschool funding in your community, start discussions within your parent groups, club and civic circles, community centers, neighborhood groups, with employers, and at parent/teacher organization meetings. Use information provided by Afterschool Alliance to cite and share state-specific studies regarding the support and demand of afterschool enrichment in your state. These reports and discussions can help gauge interest in afterschool opportunities and even help you learn more about what resources are available to you. The support of your community’s school board, PTA leaders, superintendent, and other local leaders can also help push forward the need for quality and affordable afterschool enrichment options in your community.
Don’t know where to start? Snapology can help! We know that many schools do not have the resources to allow children to explore STEM concepts in a fun, interactive manner. Our mission is to inspire children to pursue careers in STEM fields through educational play, hands-on learning, and afterschool enrichment opportunities. Our programs qualify for use of STEM/STEAM grants provided to many schools, libraries and non-profit organizations.
To see quality STEM enrichment like Snapology in your child’s school, contact us and we can reach out on behalf of parents and teachers. Together, we can make sure that every child has access to afterschool programs that encourage them, challenge them, and prepare them as future leaders.