How to Start an After School Programby MiShaun Taylor
After-school programs are a great way to get children involved in something that is great for them. They can help children learn a sense of community and help them grow as people. Below, you'll find step-by-step instructions for how to start an after-school program.
Determine what kind of program your community needs. The first thing you'll need to determine is whether parents will actually want their children to be involved in your after-school program. This can be done by determining the needs of the community. If there aren't many art-oriented programs in your area, it might be a great idea to center your after-school program on art. Find the need in your community and address it with your after-school program to ensure its success.
Decide on your purpose. What is the purpose of your after-school program? Now is the time to figure that out so you can plan with your purpose in mind. Are you trying to help children stay away from drugs, alcohol and bad influences? Perhaps your goal is to help stop obesity in your community by creating an exercise, positive play and healthy nutrition group. Whatever your purpose, it's important that you develop it now. Consider what you'd really like to give to the community, and make a list. Then, use that list to create your ultimate purpose.
Obtain funding for your after-school program. You will need money to start an after-school program. Use grants.gov to locate grants targeted at after-school programs. Work with partners and associates to develop fund-raising programs in order to obtain the funding you need. You might consider having a huge raffle in order to raise money, creating a bake sale or even just asking for community donations to obtain the funding you need.
Comply with state requirements concerning after-school programs. Each state has a set of rules and requirements regarding after-school programs. It's important that you learn these requirements so that you will be in compliance with them. childrennow.org can help you find the requirements of your own state and how you can ensure that you are following all applicable rules.
Provide children with quality and helpful activities. So much of your efforts will go into occupying and helping the children who will attend your program. There are many different resources that will help you create quality, fun activities that will help children grow and thrive. Of course, you will want to make sure that your activities help your after-school program's main goal. When planning after-school activities, keep in mind the ages of the children with whom you will be working. The activities should help them grow but should be fun enough that each age group will enjoy them. For instance, you could engage your grammar school-age children in outdoor activities like searching for bugs and insects to teach them the fundamentals of earth science. See Resources below for ideas.