The demand for afterschool programs is growing - especially as Americans are getting back to work after COVID. Understanding how to run an afterschool program is essential, whether you are a professional looking to start your own afterschool program or a seasoned expert with an established program.
1. Conduct Your Research And Understand Your Intent
The first stage of starting an afterschool program is determining whether it's a feasible venture. Child care is indeed an essential service, but that doesn't mean it will always be profitable. Many other factors will influence the success of your afterschool program. Here's everything to research before starting an afterschool program.
- Is there a demand for an afterschool program in the area?
- What commercial space is available to house an afterschool program?
- How will you staff your afterschool program? (i.e., are there enough child care professionals in the area?)
- Can you work with local businesses to offer collaborative services?
- How large is the school district?
- Can you offer something unique in your afterschool program? (Ie. Bilingual homework tutors, computer programming classes, etc.)
In our case, The Holistic Life Foundation’s after school program, Holistic Me, was created to give children a better sense of their center, their mindfulness, and to provide a confidence in their ability to have control over their emotions as well as body.
They learn a combination of yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, centering, and breath work that empower them with skills for peaceful conflict resolution, improved focus and concentration, greater control and awareness of thoughts and emotions, improved self-regulation, anger management, as well as stress reduction and relaxation.
2. You’ve Got Your Idea! Great! Now Get To Work Planning Your Afterschool Program
Once you are confident in your afterschool program's chances of success, you can move forward with the project. Now is the time to begin planning the key components of your program.
- Core values, mission or objective statement.
- Program design, including staffing, location, administration, transportation and more.
- Policies and procedures.
- Legalities (licensing, insurance, reporting and more).
Currently, the HLF after school program is facilitated at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School.
The program serves 120 male and female students, from grades Pre-K through 5th. This multifaceted after school program’s Program Partners provide enrichment activities such as Makers Space, Woodworking, Environmental, Team Building, Art & Entrepreneurship, Basketball, Martial Arts, Dance, Steel Drums, and STEM.
Ideas and plans are full of great intent. But, you have to talk about money eventually. Here’s what you'll need to create a budget:
Your startup costs:
- Location (purchase or rent).
- Third-party professional fees (lawyers, construction, printing, etc.).
- Training costs.
- Licensing and permits fees.
- Equipment costs.
Then you have the day-to-day costs to run your operations:
- Third-party vendors and services.
Make Sure Your Afterschool Program Is Providing The Right Kind Of Value To Your Students And Their Families
Students in Holistic Me benefit and grow in many ways from their participation.
Students in the fitness and sports fundamentals portion of the program learn the basic fundamental sports skills as well as learning exercises and skills for overall fitness. What’s more is they develop teamwork and leadership skills, and build the foundation for leading a healthy lifestyle.
We teach interconnectedness to the entire world as a major facet of the program so that students are taught to focus on the bigger picture and not just their neighborhood in environmental education program.
Learning the importance of stewardship, environmental justice and sustainability, students see how the environment impacts them and vice versa. Students also receive supplemental instruction in their core classes including math, language arts and science through homework assistance and one-on-one tutoring.