Afterschool programs are increasingly recognized as venues for effectively engaging children and youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), according to a report.
There is so much demand for STEM learning that it has become the most common offering of afterschool programs in the United States, and it has increased from 69 percent in 2014 to 73 percent in 2020, says a report by America After3PM.
Another report by youth.gov says more than 40% of afterschool program participants enjoy benefits like improved reading, math grades, and hands-on learning.
They also learn critical thinking, creativity, and resilience. But finding the appropriate afterschool for children is a challenging task for parents therefore, we have curated a list that you can consult while selecting after-school STEM programs.
Recommended Reading: Is STEAM better than STEM?
Tips To Choose the Right STEM Afterschool Program
1. Check information from reliable sources: If you are looking for a suitable STEM afterschool program for your child, you can start by scanning the list of the best STEM afterschool programs.
2. Consult School Authorities: School principals are clued in about various educational programs in the region, and seeking advice from them would be beneficial.
They can recommend something outstanding as per your child’s interest. Schools also run such programs, and conversations with the authorities can bring the desired results. Even teachers can also help you in finding a good one in your neighborhood, which will save your child’s time and energy.
3. Scan reviews and testimonials: We live in a technological age, and it is much easier to gather information. Most of the educational facilities have a website. You can shortlist the best ones, visit their websites, check the reviews and testimonials from parents and students, and choose the one with the highest rating.
4. Consult other parents: Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly common for parents to connect via WhatsApp groups, and it can be a valuable source of information, especially for those parents who cannot attend in-person meetings or events due to paucity of time.
You can ask about after-school programs from other parents, guardians, and grandparents. The input from them can help assist you in making the right decision.
5. Consider your child’s interests: Last is finding your child’s interests. STEM is vast and encompasses a wide range of studies such as biomedical science, neuroscience, genetics, computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, robotics, and so on.
Your child may be interested in a particular stream, such as robotics or AI. So, determining your child’s interest will narrow your search, and you can focus on the best robotics/AI afterschool program for them.
These simple yet effective tips can assist you in finding the best STEM afterschool program for your child and help them develop the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
If you look at the job scenario, jobs in STEM continue to grow at rates double those of non-STEM professions. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that STEM occupations are expected to grow 8 percent between 2019 and 2029, compared to 3.4 percent for non-STEM occupations.
Not just that, STEM professionals are compensated better than non-STEM workers.
Benefits of afterschool STEM learning Program
A study titled Come to value the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities highlights three significant contributions of afterschool STEM programs:
- Develops an interest in STEM and STEM learning activities: When children attend the afterschool program, which is both interesting and exciting because of hands-on learning and experimentation; as a result, it piques child’s interest, and they start feeling, “I like to do this.”
- Develop a capacity to productively engage in STEM learning activities: In the next stage, children become accustomed to using technology and applying it to create something to turn their ideas into reality. The experience gives them confidence, and they feel “they can do this.”
- Come to value the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities: After the first two stages, the children start recognizing the importance of learning STEM and become focused, dedicated, and accepting – “this is important to me.
The after-school program is not a cakewalk because both children and parents have to certain sacrifice a lot to make them work. If it puts additional pressure on children, it also puts an additional financial burden on parents. Therefore, the onus is on parents to choose the best one for their children, so they can participate and enjoy it.
Moonpreneur understands the needs and demands this rapidly changing technological world is bringing with it for our kids. Thus we are on a mission to educate and ignite the flames of entrepreneurship through our holistically created online STEM programs, which will help kids master the futuristic sciences such as Robotics, Game Development, App Development, Advanced Math, and much more!
Register for a free 60-minute Robotics class today!