The end of summer is quickly approaching and with it comes the beginning of a new school year. Now is the time for parents to start checking things off their back-to-school list. Items such as school supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks and gym locks are usually purchased first.
However, after-school child care requires exploring your options so you can find the most desirable program for your child. One of the most important decisions parents make at this time of year is how their children will be cared for when school lets out for the day.
Research shows that kids who participate in afterschool programs are more successful in academics, are healthier, and more often maintain positive behaviors. At the Y, afterschool programming is specially geared to achieve these results.
‘“Our YMCAs in New Jersey are committed to being among the largest and healthiest providers of afterschool programming in the state,” said Bill Lovett, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Executive Director. “The combination of enrichment and extended learning opportunities is essential to increasing children’s success in school.”
Every September, YMCAs across New Jersey open their doors to thousands of children who arrive by bus or on foot when school dismissal bells ring. Thousands more are cared for by YMCA staff, who manage afterschool programs in many of the state’s public schools. In total, 36 Ys in New Jersey operate more than 400 afterschool programs.
The Y’s curriculum framework—created in partnership with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time—offers comprehensive, age-appropriate, engaging care. Afterschool programming focuses on eight core content areas: arts and humanities, character development, health and wellness, homework support, literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), service learning, and social competence and conflict resolution. Local YMCAs model their programs after this national Y framework.
At the Westfield Area Y, a fun, active and nurturing learning environment is provided for elementary and middle school students before and after school. The Y’s structured program is convenient, safe and supervised, ensuring parents’ peace of mind. School age complement programs include homework time and assistance, small group and individual indoor and outdoor activities and a healthy snack.
Y afterschool programs across the state incorporate the Healthy U program, which focuses on building healthier kids through physical activity and teaching proper nutrition.
“For students to be effective learners they need to be active,” said Sue Cornell, Healthy U Coordinator for the YMCA State Alliance. “Recent research has shown that being healthier helps improve cognitive performance and keeps kids focused and on task.”
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Visit westfieldynj.org to learn more about Westfield Area Y programs. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.