To successfully recruit students you need to be clear about two points of view. For younger students, probably Kindergarten through 3rd grade, think about the after-school program from the mind-set of the parent. It is the parent who will have the student show up in your program or somewhere else. For older youth, 4th through 12th grades, think about the after-school program from the mind-set of the youth. These are the students who are CHOOSING to come to your program instead of doing something else.
Here are some things to think about from a parent’s point of view:
• Your after-school space is safe and supervised. Young people who attend the program are within the line of sight of an adult. Let parents know you have a system in place that will notify them if the child does not show up for program. Remind them of the sign-in and sign-out procedures as well as one of the essential agreements that you have with students, Be Safe!
• One of the components of your after-school program is homework assistance. Although you will not guarantee that homework will be done completely and with 100% accuracy, you can assure parents that youth have the support of an adult so that if they make good use of the time, they will have enough time to complete the homework and at the very least, will understand how to work on the homework independently at home.
• Parents will want to know that kids get a snack, have an opportunity to play outdoors, learn new things, and put the academic skills they have learned during the school day to good use in the after-school program.
Here are some things to think about from a student’s point of view:
• After-school is full of opportunities for you to network and work with your friends and classmates. Most every component of the program utilizes at least buddy or small group work. Cooperative work allows you to put two brains or more to work on the challenges that face you. Time is designated each day for building stronger relationships with peers and adults.
• After-school has relevant clubs and other learning opportunities that will help you master school day concepts while exploring areas that you are interested in learning more about. Practice reading by discovering the world of skateboarding; the world of math through cooking and card and dice games; science through hands-on experiments; and community service to support your social studies efforts.
• After-school will help you get your homework done and will inspire rigorous thought about the work you are doing, encouraging you to utilize higher level thinking skills.
These are both the same after-school program, but when you look at your program through different eyes you will see different things. Use this information to market your program to a variety of audiences.
Not so usual celebration…
July 28th is National Chocolate Milk Day. When my grandson was little he was sure that chocolate milk came from brown cows, but now that he is older he understands that it comes from the dairy. Just kidding! What’s not to like about chocolate milk—unless of course you are lactose intolerant in which case no milk product seems “good” to you. When I was a child, chocolate milk was considered a dessert and having it a rare treat. Today, kids often have a daily choice between regular and chocolate milk at lunch time. On some level, chocolate milk has lost its “specialness” by being so readily available, but today, help young people think about what it must have been like, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and chocolate milk was dessert! Just kidding again! Just as a note: you might not like “warm or hot” milk, but think about how great “warm or hot” chocolate milk is. Go figure!
Activities for youth
There are some great “direct draw” books and lessons that you can do with youth. Step by step, you let them know exactly what to draw and in the end, the drawing actually resembles what you intended to draw. You can purchase these books, with different drawing themes, on line and at the local teacher-supply store. If this is not appealing to you, go on line at http://deepspacesparkle.blogspot.com/2009/04/kinder-cows.html and check out the art lessons there, including one about drawing a cow.