New Experiences: Reason #2 Why Afterschool Activities Are Important

Check out this afterschool program  in Compton, CA. Hundreds of kids – from ages 5 and up – learn to fly…and for free at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum.

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Generation Z: Social Media and Afterschool.me

K12 Inc., America’s largest provider of online education for primary school students, gave a shout-out to Afterschool.me‘s blog. We are honored to be considered in the same “class” as the writers from the New York Times. Read the post here!

The Extracurricular Crisis and The Future of Afterschool Programs in the USA

The  “Entertainment and Sports Lawyer” recently published an article on the future of afterschool activities that was written by Evan Fieldman, our CEO and Co-Founder. The article, A Temporary Band-Aid: Pay-to-Play Fees and The Extracurricular Crisis, analyzes the implications of charging students fees to participate in sports and arts programs at public schools. Highlights include:

  • School districts in 33 states charge students pay-to-play fees.
  • Pay-to-play fees for a single student may be more than $700 per activity in one season.
  • States across the country are eliminating public funding for school sponsored extracurricular activities.

You can read the article here: ABA – Entertainment and Sports Lawyer.

A Kid’s Brain On Siri: What Generation Z May Lose From The World’s Most Impressive Application

Apple’s most popular application for the iPhone has saturated the blogosphere, coffee breaks and skits on late-night television. For parents, Siri is a dream come true – a personal concierge at the tip of your fingers. But, what about children? What effect will Siri have on the next generation? Below is a snapshot of what children may be losing from a personal assistant on their cell phone.

1) The Ability To Make Decisions

Siri makes decisions for you. When you ask Siri for the best pizza shop, the application streamlines the decision making process by providing a suggestion. This recommendation is not the byproduct of an independent search, but filtered from a list of Apple affiliates. It is one thing to type a question into Google or Bing and you decide which result is more reliable, and it is another for an application to reach that conclusion for you.

2) The Ability To Ask Questions

Siri eases anxieties of asking classmates, colleagues and neighbors questions. You ask a question, and it can provide you the answer or research responses on the web at your request.  You never have to worry about sounding unintelligent because Siri is so polite.  But, learning how to ask “dumb” questions at a young age is integral to personal and professional development. What are the consequences if the next generation evades asking their peers questions? Maybe we should ask Siri.

 3) The Ability to Interact With Others

Siri is funny. We know this. For the existential questions about life and current events, Siri has a response and even better, Siri is witty. Yet, if we are looking for humor or engagement, do we want to be reliant upon technology? Communicating through social media is a major innovation in sharing ideas and cultivating communities. Communication with Siri may be a tremendous diversion from that path because instead of communicating with each other, we are communicating with a machine.

While we cannot deny the potential of Siri, we do need to be cognizant of its implications. Siri certainly will reduce the time handling administrative tasks, and as a result, ideally will create more opportunities for us to do what we enjoy. However, as we teach the next generation to think for themselves, ask questions and develop friendships afterschool, let’s encourage them to look around and not down.

Fun, Safety and Achievement: The Benefits of Afterschool Activities in 3 Words (Sort of…)

Children, parents and educators recognize the importance of afterschool activities. However, when asked why extracurricular programs are essential to a student’s development, many advocates are not familiar with the research and statistics to support their intuitions. Below are a few buzz words, studies and facts to illustrate the benefits of afterschool programs:

1) Fun: Afterschool programs are a catalyst for a student’s happiness, health and confidence. Yet, as schools face budget crises, municipalities are eliminating sports and arts programs. Without these athletic and creative outlets within schools, the opportunities for students to make friends, stay fit and interact with classmates are vanishing. As a result, activities offered by non-profit organizations, cultural institutions and recreational leagues are becoming even more significant.

2) Safety: The hours between 3pm to 6pm are a tipping point for a student. The peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs is after the school bell rings. When the school day ends, communities (which includes families!) should do their best to ensure kids remain supervised. Simply said, afterschool programs keep kids out of trouble.

3) Achievement: What is the one characteristic 95% of the Fortune 500 CEO’s have in common? Participation in extracurricular activities while in high school. Studies indicate that involvement in afterschool programs results in improved grades, higher graduation rates and increased rate of acceptance to college.  If afterschool activities are correlated to a high school student’s success, why do only 8% of teenagers participate?

In the near future, you will find the best youth opportunities in sports, entertainment and innovation at Afterschool.me. For afterschool programs (non-profits, small businesses and franchises) who want to be featured on Afterschool.me, please register at:

http://www.afterschool.me/programsreg.php 

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