Why is a quality after-school or summer program important for my child?
- Children and youth are likely to spend as many hours in their out-of-school program as in school.
- Quality programs help your child grow socially, emotionally and physically.
- Quality care supports your child’s learning. Children and youth in after school programs tend to do better in school. They have high school attendance rates and have greater expectations for their future.
- Quality after school programs build links to the community and encourage community service, enriching your child’s life as well as your entire community.
- Good staff-to-child/youth ratios allow for individual attention and help children build strong relationships with caring adults. Children and youth learn to be more cooperative with adults. They learn to handle conflict by talking or negotiating instead of hitting and fighting.
- Children and youth in quality after school programs are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs. They are also less likely to engage in deliquent behavior.
- You will be more productive at work when you know your children are safe after school, during school vacations and in the summer.
How do I select a quality program for my child?
- Begin by reflecting on what you did after school and in the summer as a school-age child. What did you like? How did you feel? What did you learn? Were there safety issues?
- Think about your child and family’s needs. What type of program would best serve your child and family? Then look for programs that can meet the needs of your child and family.
- Start your search by asking friends, family members and school personnel for recommendations.
- Contact your local resource and referral agency. They can provide useful information to help guide you in your search for quality programs. www.azchildcare.org or 1-800-308-9000
- Look for programs in your area that are dedicated to continuous improvement and are working toward meeting national standards.
- Once you receive several referrals you may want to narrow your search by telephoning a number of programs and asking about availability, hours and fees. Ask if they are open on school vacation days and in the summer.