What Is Extended-Day Learning?
What Are Extended Day Learning Opportunities?
Extended-day programs—also called “after-school programs”—are a significant opportunity to improve learning for students. However, they must do more than help children complete worksheets and play kick ball. To really make a positive difference in learning, after-school and summer programs must be engaging, comprehensive, and done in partnership with families and other key stakeholders in the community. In addition, extended-day programs should intentionally enhance learning opportunities for children and their families by:
- Helping students catch up. Many children need more individualized learning time beyond the school day and year, and they need help completing their homework.
- Engaging students in learning at higher levels. Many children need an accelerated set of learning opportunities to keep up. They need extra help and connections to real-world tasks and people in diverse settings to see first-hand how their education relates to their future. Assets to learning at higher levels can include the arts and music, service learning, computer training, learning about other cultures and languages, job shadowing, and college linkages.
- Encouraging greater family connections and involvement. Extended-day programs can be a good vehicle to link more families with their own children’s education—at home, in the schools, and in the community.
- Giving families opportunities to boost their own education levels. The education level of parents is strongly correlated with children’s readiness for school and the likelihood they will complete high school and go on to college. Comprehensive after-school programs should work to increase access to adult education, computer classes, beginning college, and technical college courses for parents.
- Strengthening the climate of a school and surrounding community. With the broad involvement of youth-serving groups, civic organizations, employers, arts and cultural organizations, faith-based alliances, and families in after-school and summer programs, the very expectations of a school-community relationship can be positively changed.