10 Ways Kids’ Brains Grow at Afterschool Programs
Looking for ways to extend your kids’ learning experience after-hours? Afterschool programs provide vital means for having fun, making friends and building important, new skills. But here’s the real kicker: Quality programs also grow kids’ brains! That’s right, continued learning in afterschool care helps improve youngsters’ brain function, focus, memory, multitasking and a host of other activities that make them successful in school, at home and in life.
At KidzToPros (KTP), we work to develop critical brain power in children. Whether they’re writing code, creating a website, or designing and building a bridge, we’ve developed learning methods that advance cognitive thinking, improve accuracy and foster mental skills like understanding and problem-solving.
So, exactly how do we accomplish all this? Read about the 10 ways we grow kids’ brains at KTP afterschool programs below. Then check out our STEM, sports and arts courses for afterschool learners. We’ll give your kids the edge in academics, physical fitness and concentration you’ve been looking for, as they start a new school year.
1. Learning Actively
We love seeing kids plan a project or tournament, work with peers to perfect it, and reflect on how it went afterward. That type of active learning keeps brains stimulated and students engaged. Group projects, performances and sports also bring kids together. They practice teamwork and learn how to communicate more effectively, as they pack their brains full of knowledge and ideas.
2. Expressing Themselves
As parents, we want our children to learn the art of self-expression. Getting in touch with their thoughts and emotions helps kids express themselves appropriately.
At KidzToPros, our instructors encourage young people to shine, whether they’re writing a poem, performing a comedy sketch or creating a STEM project. Sometimes this can even happen on a basketball court! We love helping build kids’ individuality, self-confidence, creativity, independence and advocacy skills, as they work to grow and perfect themselves in areas that make them more successful.
3. Working Backward
Sometimes, when kids need a solution, they feel frustrated not knowing where to start. So we equip them with strategies like logical questioning that help them tackle things in unique ways. For instance: What ending do we want to change? What result will this achieve? Then we encourage students to work backward to find success.
Starting at the end of a problem and working toward the beginning might sound strange, but it’s an essential skill that teaches kids cause and effect. Non-linear thinking helps them tackle issues – even when they’re stumped.
4. Requesting Peer Ideas
Kids who deliver constructive focused feedback to other kids often help in ways that teachers cannot. Afterschool care instructors serve an important role, especially when creating a culture of kindness and acceptance. But kids learn a lot from each other, too. Doing so increases engagement and builds a stronger bond of trust between peers.
After all, the instructor or coach doesn’t have to be the only expert!
5. Solving Problems in Different Ways
Every child develops problem-solving skills at their own pace. As they learn, kids grow creativity and grit. This helps them resolve conflict and learn from setbacks. They take what they learn in places as diverse as a music studio or Makerspace at an afterschool program, and share thoughts and ideas with each other from brains that are wired differently. Later in life, they can face complex issues head-on by remembering what they learned as a child, both experientially and from others.
6. Using Evidence to Support Opinions
Our instructors teach kids to support their opinions using evidence. We help students search for supporting data, filter information and consider context beyond just what they see or read. Then we use explanation and application to help them understand the effect of their data on outcomes.
When kids back up their ideas with facts, teachers and peers view them as trustworthy. They know those students investigate ideas and opinions before taking them at face value. Intelligence grows as children learn to formulate their own ideas, make connections between their thoughts and others’, and research to build new solutions based on facts.
7. Learning Something from Everyone
Children must learn to get along with others. At KidzToPros’ afterschool courses, we play an important role in helping students understand appropriate social behavior and form solid friendships. We also encourage each child’s unique personality and character. We believe it’s our responsibility to turn each child into a socially-appropriate adult who’s able to grow from others’ input, cooperate and empathize with others, and treat people with kindness.
8. Expressing Themselves in Multiple Ways
Kids get their thoughts and feelings across in many different ways. They often use their words, especially when they’re feeling frustrated. The key is teaching them to do so in a positive manner. They also communicate via facial expressions and body language, as well as writing and drawing. Indeed, writing a poem, drawing a picture and dancing all provide ways for young ones to express how they’re feeling.
Kids grow immeasurably when they feel free to express themselves!
9. Connecting Stories to Concepts
Facts and figures can only do so much. But when kids learn how to tell stories and connect them to concepts, it improves their memory and deepens their comprehension skills.
At KidzToPros, we use stories to aid in student understanding. But the real growth happens when kiddos dig deep into their own and others’ shared experiences to make connections with what they already know. That kind of learning cements new information and forges new paths in their brains that enable even more growth in the future.
10. Analyzing and Evaluating Ideas
To fully prepare kids for college and meaningful work, they must grow accustomed to intellectually rigorous environments. This means they must learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas and information, whether from teachers, peers, themselves or their family members.
In afterschool care, we use analysis and evaluation to help students filter through the weight of information they’re barraged with daily. We teach them to use their brains as a filter for categorizing data, experimenting with it and examining outcomes. Only with this kind of method will they learn to make good decisions with excellent results.
Quality Afterschool Programs
Expand your children’s learning opportunities after school with our STEM, arts and sports programs. Their brains will grow, they’ll stay engaged, and they’ll gain an edge in school – and in life. What more could we want for our kids?