What Can They Do For You???
The purpose of this paper is to explore the different aspects of Before and After School Programs through different disciplinary research methods. I will look at how each of the methods helps to shape not only the programs but those who attend them, in terms of how they develop the students into active producers. I will also explore how the programs affect how a society develops as well as the over all affect the programs have. The paper will examine the influences through the disciplines of, Psychology, Sociology, and Economics.
After school programs are often broad-based, incorporating a variety of activities beyond schoolwork, a finding that comes from a discussion hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum (Rubin, 2004). The programs were mainly used to keep kids off the street and give them somewhere to go and be safe. Most programs are designed to help children to be involved in the world around them, helping them to understand it and open their world to new experiences. Such programs will optimistically challenge the children not only educationally and fundamentally, but also involve them in fun and exciting activities. But unfortunately money in terms of funding, budgeting and cost may limit the amount of exposure given that children need and deserve to develop.
First I am going to look at how the programs will help the children develop psychologically. In a study done by the American Psychological Association, they found that children who attended after school programs participated more in academic activities as well as other extracurricular activities; where informal setting day care programs had more of the children watching T.V. and hanging out, (Posner, Vandell, 1999). Basically saying that the programs encouraged the children to be more active and involved in other activities as well as be open minded to them. To be able to develop, a child must interact with their surroundings, rather then be raised by the television. The teachers of the programs must involve the children in fun, challenging and educational activates that will promote each child's process of thought. Rather then just saying 2+2=4 and have that be it, programs can make it more interactive, with either a game or fun activity. This will help them to relate to whatever it is being taught as well as retain and understand the material better. "Youth activities appear to be a context in which adolescents are active producers of development, and a context for adolescents to meet and learn about peers who are different from them in ethnicity, race, and social class," (Dworkin, Larson, Hansen, 2003 p. 17). By this I feel the author is saying that children will be able to participate in the community and classroom environment in other ways rather then just being present. This will also expose them to different cultures and teach them about how they are the same in some aspects, but different in others. The pending results are to break free from the norms of regular teaching and step into a free flowing environment so they (the children) can express their ideas (being active in the teaching process), questions and concerns; where there isn't always a right or wrong answer. This will allow them to develop in their own way, rather then as expected by some book or mandated rule.
According to the Journal of Social Issues (2003):
Developmentalists and youth advocates argue that constructive,
Organized activities are a good use of the adolescents' time
Because such activities provide opportunities (a) to acquire
And practice specific social, physical, and intellectual skills
That may be useful in a wide variety of settings including
School; (b) to contribute to the well-being of one's community
And to develop a sense of agency as a member of one's community;
(c) To belong to a socially recognized and valued group;
(d) To establish supportive...