Afterschool programs can be a great way to boost students’ understanding of and engagement in STEM. However, a lot goes into preparing an afterschool program to ensure it thrives. In this blog, we have set out to advise some of the must-haves to make your afterschool program a success.
For more information about developing a STEM afterschool program, check out this resource: Developing a STEM Afterschool Program.
Curriculum and a Plan
One of the essentials to creating a fun and exciting STEM afterschool program is organization, and to achieve this, you need structured lessons to integrate into the program. Typically, the curriculum you are already using in the classroom can be adapted to afterschool programs. However, afterschool environments tend to be much lighter than a standard classroom, so it is important to have a line-up of fun activities centered around the adjusted classroom curriculum. If you’re looking for ideas, Pinterest can be a great place to start, but you should remember that getting students up and moving is important.
One great way to get students engaged in your afterschool program is to incorporate some type of technology. This can be achieved through high-tech technology, like robots, but something smaller will work too, such as computer activities. Whatever you choose, it is important to make certain the use of the selected technology fits into collaborative activities. Doing this well will ensure success for your afterschool program and keep students coming back for more.
No matter how great the curriculum or technology is that you choose, the most important part of any afterschool program is the group of interested students who come every week and allow it to thrive. It is essential to implement a plan to advertise your afterschool program and get the word out to students and their parents. This can be done through flyers, social media, morning announcements in the school, etc. Sample several different methods of exposing students to the opportunity to join your organization and see which brings in the best results.
By putting the right elements into your afterschool program, you will maximize the benefits students will receive from participating, helping shape them into the STEM leaders of the future.