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September 19, 2019

Stay After School? It’s Good for You!

By Courtney Cairns Pastor

When the school day ends, Corbett Prep is anything but quiet.

Hundreds of students stay on campus after the buses leave, heading to classrooms, the library, the gymnasiums and the fields. They sit down at pianos, warm up for school sports, grab paddles for canoeing, slip on tap shoes, complete homework, program Lego robots, weed the garden and rehearse for plays.

Enrichment classes, recreational activities, arts programs and sports provide fun and engaging opportunities for students in the hours after school. Working parents rely on these options for child care, but the benefits of after-school programs are so widespread that many families choose to have their children stay at school past dismissal.

A quality after-school program can raise students’ academic performance, strengthen social skills, establish healthy habits, improve school day attendance and broaden horizons.

The Harvard Family Research Project analyzed a decade of research on the positive benefits of after-school programs and found that participating students showed significant gains in math test scores. Overall academic achievement may also increase because students have the chance “to learn and practice new skills through hands-on, experiential learning,” according to the report.

Although after-school commitments may seem to eat into homework time, the opposite is true for the majority of kids. Sixty-eight percent of students in such programs actually improve their homework completion, according to the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance.

Students enrolled at Corbett Prep, a private PreK3-8th grade school, can fill their afternoons with a wide variety of after-school classes, community programs or the extended day plan. Students in the Tampa Bay area, as well as Corbett Prep students, benefit from Corbett Prep’s community programs – the Community School of the Arts and the Community School for Sports.


The Community School of the Arts offers private, pair and group lessons in art, music, dance and theatre with performances and recitals throughout the school year. Lessons and performances are held at Corbett Prep but are open to anyone. Exposure to the arts helps students develop creativity and self-discipline and increases their confidence as they take pride in their accomplishments and growth.

The Community School for Sports follows a similar model, establishing its home base at Corbett Prep while inviting student-athletes from any school to join. Students can focus on skill development for specific sports, attend clinics and play in scrimmages, tournaments or on competitive teams. When kids participate in any sort of athletic activity after school, they are forming and practicing healthy habits, combating childhood obesity and balancing out screen time.

Corbett Prep students have additional opportunities to join school teams, starting with track and cross country in fourth grade. Younger students enroll in soccer, martial arts, yoga and more in the school’s After-School Activities program. This program also includes academic and extracurricular activities that change every few months. Depending on their age, students may sign up for coding, Spanish, chess, robotics, etiquette or fishing and canoeing, for example.

Students who stay late without signing up for additional activities take part in Corbett Prep’s extended day program, which balances homework time with free play on the fields, gym and in classrooms. Students build social-emotional skills when they invent games, make their own decisions and negotiate relationships with friends on the playground.

Whether parents choose a sport or a lesson, a play or playtime for their children after school, they’re doing more than simply filling the afternoon hours. They’re helping their kids discover more about themselves and build good habits. Positive experiences after school can lead to positive experiences during school as students boost academic achievement, gain confidence, and build social-emotional intelligence.

 

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