Social and emotional skills are a critical part of every child's development. Likewise, after-school and out-of-school programming have a significant impact on young people and provide them with the opportunity to explore new ideas and develop important skills through real-world experiences and engaging activities.
After-school programs that incorporate social and emotional learning set kids up to succeed in the classroom, be prepared for the workplace, and thrive in life. Here are five reasons why social and emotional learning and after-school are the perfect match.
|Photo Credit: Youth Institute, LBYMCA|
2. Kids can prepare for successful careers before they leave elementary school. After-school programs provide kids with the opportunity to explore interests and develop skills that will lead to success in college and career. When students select the activities they're interested in, take on leadership roles in group projects, and participate in service learning, they build key skills like problem-solving, communicating clearly, and embracing differences that translate into competencies employers look for.
|Photo Credit: WINGS for Kids|
4. Research shows the positive impact of high-quality after-school social and emotional programming. A growing body of evidence tells us that quality after-school social and emotional learning has far-reaching, positive effects on students. We see that kids with strong social and emotional skills are more likely to earn a high school diploma, attain a college degree, and have a full-time job. Studies also show that regular participation in these programs results in increased empathy and self-confidence, improved grades and test scores, positive behaviors, and an increased attachment to school. WINGS' recent randomized control trial (RCT) study provides firsthand examples: students who participated in WINGS for two years exhibited improved executive function and self-regulation, reduced hyperactivity and negative behavior, and improved quality of relationships with teachers.
|Photo Credit: NHP Foundation|
Bridget Laird is Chief Executive Officer of WINGS for Kids, a nationwide after-school program focused solely on bringing SEL to at-risk kids. Follow WINGS on Twitter at @wingsforkids.
To view a guest blog post by Julia Rugg, Chief Strategy Officer at WINGS for Kids, click here.