There is one unprecedented feat that the COVID-19 pandemic has managed to achieve, and that is the highly unlikely reunion of both parents and educators. Although they were once separated by their numerous opposing beliefs, both have finally come to realize just how important it is to join forces in the face of an ongoing, global challenge.
Families and educators have managed to bridge the gap that once separated them. During their time in lockdown, parents have had some time to explore the vast selection of after-school programs currently available. Most working parents prefer knowing that their children are engaging in safe after-school activities after 3 P.M. Not only that, but they would also like their children to take part in culturally affirming programs.
What has caught our attention the most during the pandemic was that throughout 2020 and into 2021, after-school programs have stayed in contact with their students and their families. This goes to show just how relentless after-school programs are when it comes to their fight for equity. Considering that the pandemic practically failed to stop their efforts, it’s safe to assume that nothing will get in the way of qualitative after-school activities.
In this article, The Village Method will showcase just how crucial after-school activities have become and why it is important to find the ones that are culturally affirming enough for our youth. Read on!
After-School Programs Should Prioritize Family Engagement Activities
When looking for an after-school program, it’s best that you seek one that actively prioritizes family engagement activities. Why? Because doing right by all the children is rarely the case in most schools. This is what happens when systemic racism becomes ingrained in most, if not all, institutions.
For the most part, our kids are inculcated with self-deprecating beliefs. The side of history they are being taught has nothing to do with their African ancestry. We, as their parents and as experts when it comes to their academic journeys, are often discouraged from getting involved in various activities.
Parental engagement is now needed more than ever before. Because of the high demand, after-school programs have taken the lead and are actively providing students and their families with the appropriate tools in order to break the cycles of intergenerational poverty and systemic racism.
Working parents are in dire need of a helping hand. Family engagement activities ensure that each parent has input on their children’s education.
Our youth must learn how to connect on a more meaningful level with their ancestral culture, traditions, and ultimately, with the African way of living. They will surely have higher chances of becoming the self-aware, successful adults of tomorrow. Therefore, they will be able to give back to the communities that helped raise them.
Parental engagement is vital, regardless of what most schools would have us believe. The benefits will start to become obvious as soon as we make the decision to invest in after-school programs that aim to fill in our children’s intellectual and emotional gaps.
Another important step towards a better educational system is the implementation of Social and Emotional Learning.
After-School Activities Should Include Social and Emotional Learning
When was the last time your child learned how to make sense of society and its many challenges? Soft skills are what most employers are looking for when conducting job interviews. Critical thinking, knowing how to add value to teamwork, and developing leadership skills are highly relevant for any future college student.
The nurturing of a healthy school culture starts with the implementation of the Social and Emotional Learning framework. According to CASEL, this particular framework helps to establish equitable learning environments. In turn, this will have beneficial effects on the students’ social skills, while ensuring their academic success.
Start seeking out after-school programs that aim to support our youth’s emotional and social wellbeing. The success of our children depends entirely on how well we address their inner motivations. We must help them develop healthy identities early on.
The Social and Emotional Learning framework also relies on parental engagement in order to build harmonious relationships between the families and schools. Parents must participate in the co-creation of safe spaces where their children can express their healthiest identities.
This is the only way we can change the deeply flawed curriculum, schooling system, and ultimately, the society in which we live.
The Conclusion Regarding Culturally Affirming After-School Programs Is…
They are absolutely necessary if we want to watch our children develop healthy skills and identities. It is up to us, as parents and educators, to break the barriers that prevent our youth from excelling at whatever it is they’re currently aiming for.
The Village Method is a community-based grassroots organization that aims to nurture and support the whole-child. We don’t offer regular after-school activities. Instead, we aim to provide children and their families with culturally responsive Youth Development, Family Engagement, and Community Outreach programming.
It takes a village to raise a child, as the old African proverb once stated. It is up to us to build these safe, healthy villages, but only with your help. You can either donate, volunteer, or simply spread the word about our cause. Your help is what keeps us going. Explore our website today and stay tuned for more of our blog posts!