Developmental After School Programs

As a child grows into an adult, different aspects of his physical,

emotional and mental self-need development. To help a child reach his

full potential, it is necessary to recognize the child’s developmental

needs and abilities. To be effective, after-school programs should assist

children with tasks they must accomplish during each stage of development.

A child’s growth curve can be divided into three main parts:

1) A young child (ages 3-5)

2) Middle school (ages 6-8)

3) Older school (ages 9-12)

The four essential domains of development are: The Physical Domain, the

Social Domain, the Emotional Domain, and the Intellectual Domain. Each of

these domains needs to be separately addressed during the various phases

of a child’s growth. After school programs should concentrate on

developing each area as applicable to the age of the child. Although the

children participating in these programs may have similar developmental

needs and age, do not expect development to be uniform. Children will

develop as and when they are ready.

Physical Domain:

When children are young, they want to perfect skills that they have just

learned to control. A variety of movements such as jumping, catching and

throwing delight them. The middle school child, on the other hand, wants

to learn more complex skills and get involved in team sports. This is also

the best time to learn about rules and discipline in the competition. The older

school child is ready for more adult-like activities that need more magnificent

structure and control, like dancing, gymnastics, music classes, etc.

Social Domain:

Young children are observing others and will be interested in games where

they play the roles of family members. They develop short-term friendships

and need an adult’s presence to assure them. The middle school child is

intrigued by society and will love trips to factories, public buildings,

etc. They want to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of things. The older school

child is ready to learn about different cultures, food and customs. They

want to do some amount of social work too.

Intellectual Domain:

Young school children will practice what they are learning. Middle school

children want to learn more skills and will show interest in reading,

drama, and problem-solving. The older school children are ready to research

and probe. They enjoy getting a puzzle and pondering over it.

Any after school program needs to address the interests of the child depending

on the category he belongs to. Knowing the children in your program and

appreciating their needs and interests will help staff to plan and

structure programs that are most useful to that group.


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