Extended care programs are programs offered for children whose parents work and are not able to be home before or after regular school hours, or for children who want to learn and play with other kids in a school club-like environment.
Typically, these programs are equipped with games, arts and crafts, homework supplies, and other learning and play opportunities. Children are provided with a safe, positive, caring environment that is also educational and fun.
There are many benefits to enrolling your child in an extended care program – here are our top 10.
1. Supervision for Homework Help, Socialization, Education, and Play
The primary purpose of an extended care program is to ensure children have a place to go before or after regular school hours. Instead of the child being home alone while their parents work, these programs offer the opportunity for the child to learn, play, and socialize with other children in a safe environment. This keeps children out of trouble while giving them an engaging outlet to be productive and have fun. These programs are also great options for parents who are just looking for more opportunities for their child to socialize, get homework help, or play with other kids.
2. Provides Positive Outlet for Creativity
Because these programs are supervised and most of the activities offered are designed around creativity and enrichment, children have a prime opportunity to express their creativity in a place they will be supported and encouraged. Children are free to be as creative as they like through the activities provided, an outlet they may not have during regular school hours.
3. Boosts Academic Performance
Depending on the extended care program, activities the children can participate in may be academically aligned, helping the child continue to learn outside of school hours.
At HotSpots, our focus is around:
- Learning skills: Critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborating, communicating
- Literacy skills: Information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy
- Life skills: Flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, leadership
When these learning opportunities are integrated into different activities, it can not only be enriching, but also fun.
4. Helps Support and Improve Behavioral and Emotional Issues
When children can be positive and productive with and around other children and adults, they can pursue friendships and meaningful connections they might not be able to get elsewhere.
Because extended care programs are typically less formal environments, shy kids may also feel they can come out of their shells. On the other hand, children who are outgoing have the opportunity to express their energy in a meaningful way.
Plus, by interacting with different types of children and adults, these kids can learn tolerance, open-mindedness, and even respect for others.
5. Supports Social Growth
When children can interact and play with and learn from other children and adults, it helps support their social growth. These extended care programs help increase positive social experiences, expand social circles, and elevate the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem through fun, enriching activities.
6. Gets Child Involved with the Community
Depending on the program, your child may get to learn about their home state and/or hometown through interactive activities. These are often designed to help encourage the students to be invested citizens in their communities.
When children can learn about different people, places, and ideas at a young age, they are more likely to accept and appreciate more as they grow older. This encourages them to care for their community and have a desire to be involved.
Extended care programs may even offer volunteer opportunities or other ways to give back to the community. Examples include creating cards for a local nursing home or writing letters to veterans.
7. Provides Structure and Support
When children have structure and routine, they can learn healthy coping skills. They also likely feel more secure and comfortable when they have a routine. This helps them deal with stressful situations more effectively.
When a child knows they have an extended care program to attend, they may feel like their days are more structured. It can even give them something to look forward to each day.
8. Makes Learning Fun
Not every child responds to school the same way. Extended care programs can be more flexible with the curriculum they teach, giving greater opportunity to make learning more fun, exciting and engaging for the child.
Not only does this help the child learn during the program, but it can also carry over to the school day, helping to boost their performance in the regular classroom as well. When children can learn in fun ways, they are more likely to get and stay excited about learning.
9. Creates a Sense of Belonging
Children may view their extended care program as a way to make new friends and get a break from cliques or social concerns in school. Even though some programs are at a local school, it allows your child to connect with peers in different ways. These children feel included and as though they are part of a group. This can also help them build confidence and boost self-esteem.
10. Gives Parents Peace of Mind
Parents can rest assured their children are being watched, cared for, and supported during their time at the program. The supervision can give peace of mind, as well as the knowledge that their children are playing, learning, and growing with other children in a fun, engaging, and safe way.
HotSpots Extended Care Program is here to be an extension of your child’s school day and school family. We pride ourselves on providing enriching, nurturing, educational, and fun before and after-school programs. Parents can rest assured knowing their children are developing in a safe, positive environment.
If you’re interested in enrolling your child in one of our programs, contact us today for more information.