What Are Afterschool Programs?

Afterschool programs offer a balanced program of academic support, arts and cultural enrichment, recreation, and nutrition. Afterschool programs can run directly after school, or during evenings, weekends, summer vacations, and holidays. Programs are often community-driven, and nurture learning opportunities that support developmentally appropriate cognitive, social, physical, and emotional outcomes.

Why After School?

Student learning doesn’t stop after the final bell. Educators and policy makers have begun to show increasing interest in programs designed for non-school hours, especially those designated for after school. A lot of emphasis has been placed on after-school programs for three primary reasons.

First, attendance in after-school programs can provide children with supervision during a time when many might be exposed to or engaged in more antisocial and destructive behaviors.

Second, after-school programs can provide enriching experiences that broaden children’s perspective and improve their socialization.

Third, and a more recent emphasis, after-school programs can perhaps help improve the academic achievement of students who are not accomplishing as much as they need to during regular school hours.

Did You Know…

23% of Maine’s K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves.*

4,000 (5%) Maine teens are not in school and not working.*

Drop-out rates are as high as 27% with 6% as a state-wide average.*

Nearly 35% of the Maine K-12 youth in self-care would participate in an Afterschool Program if one were available. **

Maine is home to 209,676 youth ages 5 to 17. **

Investments in quality child care services reduce expenditures, increase the quality of life, and provide early development of Maine’s future workforce. ***

79% of teens in afterschool programs are “A” or “B” students. Teens not in afterschool programs are five times more likely to be “D” students. ┼

All 14 women in the Senate (including Maine’s Collins and Snowe) signed a bi-partisan letter to President Bush requesting more funding for 21st Century Community Learning Center’s to double the number of children served from 1.4 million to 2.8 million. ┼┼

Adolescents who spend time in communities that are rich in developmental opportunities show evidence of higher rates of positive development. ┼┼

Afterschool programs complement environments created by schools and families, providing important components that promote success, growth, and development. ┼┼

Nearly 5,298 of Maine’s children participate in Maine’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which is the only federally-funded program dedicated Afterschool.

*From the Afterschool Alliance 2008:

** Maine Kids Count 2004

*** Maine Kids Count 2008

┼ YMCA of the USA After School for America’s Teens, March 2001.

┼┼ National Institute of Out-of-School Time Making the Case: A Fact Sheet on Children and Youth in Out-of-School Time 2004