After School Daycare Curriculum

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 After school activities are the rage of the day but the importance of an appropriate daycare curriculum to structure these activities shouldn't be underestimated. With about $500 million invested in these programs and more than 10 million children attending them in America alone, the popularity of these activities cannot be overlooked. Everyone understands the need to develop new skills, gain more knowledge and keep the children safe when parents are working.

Healthy relationships between the children attending the after school and the adults running the program are key to success.  Often, children may confide in an adult member who is in the unique position of being neither parent nor teacher. These kids are growing and changing and this type of positive emotional interaction is vital in helping them deal with personal issues.

These ‘out of the normal category’ adults can have a profoundly positive impact on children.  Their wisdom, insight and experience will doubtless impress the children. The mentors in these after school programs serve as role models and can directly and indirectly pass on a multitude of knowledge and wisdom to the kids. Their unique position enables them to build the kind of relationships that will result in the kids drawing inspiration from their mentors.

After school activities that are managed professionally by people who are successful in their own fields of expertise will produce children who are more enthusiastic and successful. Meaningful interaction with adults is a learning experience in itself.  Most after school activities can be broadly classified into three – recreational, educational and society-oriented. The last bit usually comes in when the child is already a bit grown up and can voice his own interests.

Educational activities aim at furthering the knowledge of the child.  Different techniques are used to improve memory, general understanding and awareness.  Programs such as intensive memory training and speed mathematics are educational after school activities.  Many subjects can be covered to improve the child’s general knowledge in addition to help with homework and reiteration of class work.  Thus academic programs have a definite edge over the fun and games, especially if parents feel that their child has a lot of catching up to do.

 

 

Fine arts, sports, physical games, board games etc and painting are included in recreational activities.  Fun is the driving force behind these programs.  Inevitably a competitive element will appear as children become more proficient.  Encouragement to improve one’s skills comes in the form of competitions, theatrical events and sporting occasions.  

 When we compare the merits of the two kinds of activities, the recreational programs often have more meat. Firstly, children do not enjoy learning unless they themselves feel curious about something. Most academic programs are standardized courses that are not too flexible. They have a general purpose and a well laid out methodology. After a number of hours at school, the child may feel bored. Further study may overwhelm him and make him feel frustrated. Burnout is very much a possibility here.

Recreational programs provide a welcome break from the monotony of learning and studies.  Physical activity and being outdoors in the fresh air energizes children and instils in them a wonderful sense of wellbeing.   Group activity teaches him social skills, discipline and patience.  Children who take part in such activities tend to get good results at school and are better all rounders.  Sometimes closing the textbooks and playing a game may be the best way to handle your studies.

Consistent, thorough evaluation is vital regardless what after school program you choose for your day care.  Constant gauging of the children’s development is necessary.  Your daycare curriculum may need modification if progress is not satisfactory.  Also, children should be empowered to choose and discard activities as suits their interest levels.  The perfect daycare curriculum combines a balance of both recreational and academic so that children are challenged at every level.  Never underestimate the effectiveness of fun when dealing with kids.

 

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