According to, 10.2 million children participate in after school programs annually. Parents enroll their children in after school programs for a number of reasons. For some, especially working parents, after school programming provides a safe and enriching experience for children after the school day ends. For others, after school programs offer more in depth or advanced views into subjects. Still others sign their children up for after school sports to keep them active and help them develop lifelong skills.

Behind these reasons is the myriad benefits of after school programs. On Sawyer, our educators offer in-person and online after school activities that cover a wide range of topics such as art, music, STEM, sports, magic, and much, much more. If you are interested in signing your child up for after school programming but not ready to make the jump, keep reading to learn more about how they will benefit. 

Why after school programs are important

After school programs are important to children (and adults!) in many ways. We’ll outline a few here, but trust us, we won’t be able to cover all of them!

After school programs provide community

When children participate in after school programs, they get the opportunity to meet potential mentors, make new friends, and feel a sense of belonging and community they might not always feel in school. It is another place for them to go where they can be with like-minded students and take a break from the social hierarchies that might be common in their school.

Children can get academic support

Most after school enrichment programs offer homework help and/or academic support to the participants. This is time for students to get 1-on-1 or small group level guidance on subjects that might be more difficult for them. In addition, this structured homework time is useful for children with ADHD or might otherwise have trouble focusing at home.

After school programs teach without grades

Academic-based after school programs, like those that focus on STEM, languages, and even music and art, are great for children who are passionate about those subjects because they get the chance to dive deeper without worrying about grades. Stress-free learning is better for children and they will gain useful knowledge to help them in school as well.

After school programs keep children safe and engaged 

For working parents, signing their child up for an after school program provides the peace of mind they need to get their job done after the school bell rings. Knowing that their child is safe, engaging with professional educators and staff, and doing the right thing is important.

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Benefits of after school programs

What do children gain when they participate in after school programs? There are so many benefits of after school programs for children because they provide safe spaces for children to explore and discover their passions. Here are some of the many benefits of after school programs.

Children increase their social circle

Not only will your child get the opportunity to make new friends in after school programming, but also they will learn how to find a mentor and be a mentor. One of the best parts of after school enrichment programs is that they are often not segregated by age. 

That means your child can meet other children who they might not have met in school because they are not in the same grade. With a variety of ages, children get the chance to find mentors who are older than them and be mentors to younger students. This is beneficial to their social development and advances their social skills.

Children gain confidence

Shier, quieter children might find themselves speaking up more in after school activities because there is less pressure than during the regular school day. Even children who participate in class will see a boost in confidence and self-esteem from participating in after school programs because there are no grades or assessments. This feeling of confidence can trickle down to the regular school day and help them become a better version of themselves each day.

Children dive deeper into their passions

Whether they attend a specialized after school program about one of their interests like robotics or music or they attend a general enrichment program, children have the opportunity to dive deeper into their passions during after school activities. These opportunities help them develop and advance their skills outside of school.

Children can try new things

After school programs will often offer activities that children might not have tried on their own. Dance, theater, cooking, yoga, and much more are often options for children participating in after school programs. When they get the opportunities to try new activities without the fear of failing, they can discover what they like and learn more about themselves.

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After school program examples

Intrigued? Check out some after school program examples offered by our wonderful educators on Sawyer!

After school enrichment programs

After school enrichment programs (also called after care) are generally Monday through Friday and run from the end of the school day until the end of the workday (often 3pm to 6pm). They usually include time for homework help, outdoor or open play, enrichment activities, and free time. Sometimes, these programs are connected directly with the school and are done in the school building or provide pickup and/or drop off options for parents. 

Here are some Sawyer educators that offer after school enrichment programs:

Check out more kids activities in NYC, activities for kids in Chicago, and DC & Arlington camps and activities in our guides!

After school activities

After school activities are usually more specific and can happen as little as once per week after school. Oftentimes, parents sign their child up for an after school activity in a subject that they want them to advance in, something the child is interested in, or a sport. These types of after school activities can be semester-based or drop-in style.

Here are some Sawyer educators that offer after school activities:

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We hope this article has inspired you to sign your child up for an after school program this school year. Let’s make this year the best one yet! If you are looking for great in-person and online activities and after school programs for children of all ages, check out Sawyer!

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