Student enrichment programs support child cognitive and social development, introduce kids to new activities and hobbies, and help kids develop the attitudes and skills to achieve their academic goals.
Many schools organize in-school academic enrichment programs for kids that show rapid development in math and reading. However, enrichment programs can also include sports clubs, trivia and board game clubs, homework clubs, martial arts or dance classes, math lessons, yoga lessons, piano classes and many other extracurricular activities. All kids can benefit from the educational and developmental opportunities offered through these programs – especially kids who may be facing challenges in other areas of their lives.
Keep reading to find out why Procare supports all kids getting involved in student enrichment programs – and why your child should get involved too.
What is an Enrichment Program?
Enrichment programs are scheduled extracurricular classes where students can receive advanced academic instruction, get extra help with homework assignments, or discover new hobbies, interests and activities outside the classroom setting.
Enrichment programs come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of the most common formats include:
- Academic Enrichment Programs – These programs are typically offered through schools and primarily targeted toward kids who are developmentally ahead of their grade level in math and reading. They may take place before, during or after school. In these programs, kids receive advanced academic instruction that is more appropriate for their developmental level. Some schools offer an after school homework club where kids can go to enjoy a quiet work space and get extra help with assignments.
- Sports & Recreation Enrichment Programs – These programs include after school sports clubs, running groups, martial arts classes and even yoga programs. With schools today offering kids fewer opportunities for physical activity, extracurricular sports programs create an environment where kids can improve their physical wellbeing, develop healthy habits and start living an active lifestyle.
- Arts Enrichment Programs – These programs include music lessons (choir and instrumental), dance programs, drama clubs and all kinds of visual arts programs. As schools have shifted to focus more on direct instruction in math and reading, arts enrichment programs provide space for kids to develop their artistic talents in a supportive and low-stress environment.
- Science and Technology Enrichment Programs – Science and tech enrichment programs are more popular than ever in 2020. Through these programs, kids can start playing with robots, learn basic computer programming and express themselves creatively using digital tools.
- Language Enrichment Programs – Language enrichment programs can include spelling bees, creative writing clubs, book clubs or second-language clubs. These programs encourage kids who are fascinated by language to further develop their linguistic skills through reading, writing and playing language-based games.
Enrichment programs give students the opportunity to explore new activities, develop new skills, get help with homework and socialize with others outside of the classroom setting. They can be scheduled for before and after school, during school hours, or during summer vacation.
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Who Belongs in an Enrichment Program?
High-Achieving Students Who Need a Challenge
Students who are ahead of their peers in math and reading can face significant challenges in school. Some are so quick to grasp new concepts that they get bored in class. They may be easily distracted or disruptive during lessons, despite achieving high grades. The kids in this group can benefit from the additional challenges and opportunities offered through enrichment programs.
Low-Achieving Students Who Need Extra Help
Low-achieving students who are academically behind their peers can benefit from enrichment programs that offer extra help with homework assignments, one-on-one academic support and a quiet study space for test preparation. Enrichment programs in the arts, science and language can provide additional opportunities for cognitive development. Some programs can even open up alternate career pathways for kids who aren’t reaching their full potential in their public or private education system.
Average Students With Drive to Succeed
An average student is not destined to be average – they simply haven’t found the thing they’re going to excel at yet. Enrichment programs expose these kids to new activities, sports, games, skills and hobbies. They’ll have the opportunity to try new things and learn more about their likes and dislikes. Ultimately, they’ll discover new passions and interests that motivate them to keep working hard in school and achieve their goals.
Any Student Looking for Fun Experiences Outside the Classroom
Kids love to have fun, and enrichment programs are a great way to create enjoyable experiences while also fostering opportunities for learning and growth. Plus, parents may prefer their children engage in more directed activities than what may be offered by a before or after school program.
What are the Benefits of Enrichment Programs for Students?
Discover New Activities and Hobbies
Student enrichment programs give kids the opportunity to try new sports, games and activities, often for the first time. These programs connect kids with valuable community resources that they might otherwise have difficulty accessing.
Develop Work Ethic and Study Skills
When kids engage in extra academic enrichment programs outside of class, or commit their time to developing a valued skill, they can significantly improve their work ethic and ability to concentrate. Academic enrichment programs also teach study skills and self-directed learning, ideas that kids can use to succeed in their regular classes.
Increased Interest in Learning
Enrichment programs provide a low-stress environment where kids are encouraged to learn and explore without the need to prepare for evaluation. This can help kids build their enthusiasm around the learning process and develop a more positive attitude toward academics.
Find an Outlet for Energy
Enrichment programs that focus on physical activity and recreation give kids the opportunity to expend energy and get the exercise they need to stay focused during their classes and while completing homework. Millions of kids in America aren’t getting enough physical activity, so there should be plenty of demand for enrichment programs focusing on sports, athletics and outdoor games.
Increase Motivation To Perform Well In School
Student enrichment programs can help motivate your child to do their best in school – especially if they’ve shown signs of low motivation (such as understanding class material, but still getting low grades).
Low motivation can be a sign that your child doubts their ability to succeed. If this is the case, they may decide that it’s better not to try. Their focus during class may shift away from the teacher and toward entertaining their peers – and that’s when the trouble starts.
Enrichment programs can help your child break free from self-doubt by giving them opportunities to excel at a new task in a different environment. Once they’ve seen how regular practice and commitment helped them get better at drawing or playing soccer, they’re often more willing to put in that same effort to improve their math and reading skills.
What Makes a Successful Enrichment Program?
Enrichment programs seem to offer lots of benefits to the kids who participate, but what exactly makes a successful enrichment program? We identified four factors that make the difference:
- Passionate, Dedicated and Capable Instructors – Some enrichment programs are provided by schools and staffed by teachers, while others operate as after school programs, with a contract with the school, such as a cooking program or martial arts classes. In all cases, having qualified and knowledgeable staff who are attuned to kids’ individual needs is a key success factor for enrichment programs that want to make a difference.
- Carefully Designed Activities – Enrichment program activities should be designed thoughtfully to provide age-appropriate development opportunities for all participants.
- Highly Engaged Parents – Research has shown that getting parents involved in enrichment programs has positive impacts on child learning outcomes. Communication between parents and their child’s enrichment program is essential for making sure kids are prepared to get the most out of every session.
- Exceptional Program Organization – The best student enrichment programs use software tools and technology to track program attendance, manage communication with parents and provide families with more convenient payment options. These features help streamline program administration so program staff can focus on delivering the curriculum and making sure kids are happy and successful.
Manage Your Student Enrichment Program with Procare Solutions
Thinking about starting a student enrichment program in your community?
Procare is here to help, with over 30 years in the business of child care and 30,000+ customers using Procare Solutions to manage their center-based care facilities, after school clubs and community enrichment programs.
Procare Solutions make it easy to plan daily activities, track attendance, share scheduling changes and communicate with parents, and automate the payment process with electronic payments and attendance-based billing.
Ready to learn more about how Procare Solutions can help you manage your student enrichment program?