We are always doing research and exploring ways to make our program better, more efficient, more enjoyable and more unique. As I was searching the internet, I came across a number of articles and a number of studies done on what makes an after care program good. Here are some of the criteria to look for:
1) Building, encouraging and helping to explore a young person's strengths and individuality.
It's important for a good program to recognise the individuality of each of it's young people and to help to encourage the exploration of their own strengths. There may be children that are very strong in the arts, some perhaps strong in sciences, a good program will provide a diverse amount of activities to explore and build those strengths and interests.
2) Safe and positive environment for young people to develop positive relationships with peers.
A young person should always feel safe to express themselves and to be able to express themselves to their peers without judgement or criticism. It helps build confidence, self esteem, empathy and compassion.
3) Provides activities that are creative, enriching, with challenges children can rise too and achieve. These programs can both be active or quiet depending on how your child "blows off steam" at the end of a busy school day.
4) Provides activities/programs where children have fun, feel comfortable and are excited to attend.
5) Provides enough discipline for children to feel and be safe while encouraging children to learn self regulation and grow and nurture their own self disciplines.
One of the key elements to any good After Care program is also the staff. The staff for any After Care program should have a passion for what they do. They should be excited to with and for the children in their programs. It's what helps to drive the energy in any environment or program.