The results of several leading national surveys regarding participation in after-school activities overwhelmingly suggest that if extracurricular options are made available, students will not only take advantage of these opportunities, but they will seek them out.
Among middle and high school students:
- 79% regularly participate in after school or weekend activities
- 57% participate in a non-school activity almost every day
- 54% of participants would select a sports-based activity if given the option
- 36% would select an activity outside of sports, such as music or dance
Types of Programs Available
- Literacy support programs (reading or book clubs)
- Physical fitness clubs (sports teams)
- Area-specific enrichment programs such as science, technology, engineering, and math
Benefits of Participation
After-school programs can:
- Improve academic performance
- Foster positive classroom behavior
- Reduce drug use and criminal behavior
- Contribute to healthy eating and regular exercise
- Government Funding
Historically, government funding focuses more on funding programs intended to improve academic achievement and less on extracurriculars.
58% of parents say they have a harder time finding activities for their children over the summer, and 14% of parents report difficulties in finding extracurricular activities during the school year.
- Family Interest
Only 55% of minority families feel their children would get more from an academic extracurricular program, and only 45% of low-income families, and 35% of higher-income families agree.
Despite the challenges, extracurricular activities provide many positive benefits and fill an important duty in rounding out the youth of America.
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