by Leanne Day
No longer is the Ofsted report and school visit the only consideration for parents when selecting their child’s school, now the importance of extended hours childcare is also very relevant. More and more parents are feeling the pressure of needing to drop their children to school at 8am and pick them up later than 3pm. This is where after-school clubs and school holiday clubs really do play a part. In fact a recent survey by breakfast club provider Kellogg’s found that more that 27% of working parents believe that without access to breakfast and other wrap-around clubs, they or their partner would have to give up work.
Benefits of after-school and holiday clubs
After-school clubs allow children the chance to let off a bit of steam outside the classroom in a safe, stimulating, familiar environment where there is no pressure. Children can benefit emotionally and behaviourally if they feel a positive connection to other people and the relationships that are created between staff and children in an after-school club are based around fun and not just academic qualities. These clubs also give children an opportunity to mingle with others within their school with whom they may not get to interact with during normal school hours. In addition, mixed ages are able to play together, with older children supporting younger ones and siblings being able to play together too. Learning to be open-minded and respectful of others in these environments is key.
Types of after-school and holiday clubs
Team sports – Many after-school clubs focus on a team sport like rugby, football or hockey and are great for keeping your child active but also for learning to work in a team environment and to appreciate others.
Extended learning – Some children may prefer a club that offers a means of extending learning, whether it be maths, drama or learning a musical instrument – these are all great ways to expand their mind.
General after-school clubs – Many schools are now providing a club that allows children to just play in a safe and friendly environment with the people they know. Arts and crafts, computing and other such activities allow children to be relaxed at a time in their day when they would be doing the same or similar activities if they were at home. It is not all about learning new skills and building confidence, just being contented and happy!
Many after-school clubs also offer opportunities not found at home – pool tables, table tennis, role play and so on. The children also learn to independently get their own healthy snacks at the relevant times.
Timing – If children are doing an after-school activity connected to the school, such as choir practice or school sports, they can often still join in with after-school clubs when that activity has finished, with flexible booking times and discounts for siblings.
Homework – Familiar staff are always on hand to provide a safe stimulating environment and if need be, assist with homework or just act as a games partner. For working parents, this guarantees that a familiar person will always be on hand to help with any school queries as well as overseeing pastoral activities.