After-school activities that are good for a child’s development

After-school activities like sport, music, craft and dance build children’s confidence, help them make friends and learn to get along with people, keep them fit and healthy, and help them develop new skills and discover talents and interests (ABS, 2012, Tanner et al., 2016, The Smith Family, 2013). In other words, they are good for a child’s development.

For example, children who participate in visual arts and music activities at ages 7–12 years develop better persistence and concentration, and learn to work as part of a group. They also achieve more academically (Metsäpelto and Pulkkinen, 2014).

Children growing up in low-income households do fewer after-school activities

Disadvantaged children are disproportionately missing out on the benefits of after-school activities such as sport, music and dance. As stated above, these benefits include perseverance, trust, self-esteem and teamwork.

In low-income households, children do fewer after-school activities and at least 50% don’t do any at all (The Smith Family, 2013). In particular, research shows that children are less likely to do extra-curricular activities if they live in: families with lower income; single-mother households, with the mother not in paid employment; and jobless couple households (Rioseco et al., 2018).

Our Place creates opportunities for everyone to be involved, join a team, volunteer and contribute

Providing support for children to participate in expanded learning opportunities helps reduce the impact of poverty and disadvantage. These opportunities help children develop skills and increase school attendance.

They are also a way for children to spend time in a positive environment where adults pay attention, praise and encourage them – which helps build their self-esteem and wellbeing. This pattern needs to continue from early learning in to school because positive school experiences and school engagement increase students’ interest in school and are particularly important when students reach adolescence (Geagea et al., 2017).

To this end, Our Place ensures that all children are provided with affordable before/after school recreation activities including opportunities for physical activities. They are also provided with opportunities to engage in activities that hold special interest such as cooking, music, homework clubs, sport, art and craft activities outside of school hours.

Schools lead the selection and oversight of these activities, with advice from the Community Facilitator around children and families’ interests. The Community Facilitators and Partnership Managers also help coordinate and support community volunteers on site, and help locate suitable partners. They assist school staff to identify sources of funding for the school’s delivery of the activities through links with sporting association, targeted government programs, and local community grants.