Out-of-School Time programs are opportunities outside the classroom for children and youth to play, learn, and grow. They take place before or after school, on the weekends, or during summer and holiday breaks. No two out-of-school time programs are alike -- they can be delivered at schools, churches, or recreation centers, and they can involve many types of activities, including art, sports, theater, dance, STEM, and many others.
Programs offered before and after school, on weekends and during school breaks can have a big impact on a youth’s health and development.
For many parents, Out-of-School Time programs are vital to ensuring their children and youth are safe and engaged in positive activities during out-of-school hours. They also offer practical solutions for working families when work and school schedules are not aligned. Out-of-School Time programs help develop engaged and healthy youth, and in return engaged and healthy youth help create healthy communities.
Why should youth participate in Out-of-School Time programs?
Out-of-School Time programs promote healthy habits. Out-of-School Time programs help keep young people active and give them the tools to develop a healthy diet and make other healthy choices.
Out-of-School Time programs help keep young people safe. Out-of-School Time programs provide safe, structured spaces with trusted adults for young people to learn, play, and connect with peers.
Out-of-School Time programs help bolster education outcomes. Out-of-School Time programs with an educational component go beyond just offering help with homework. Many offer a full range of fun and creative programming that enriches the curricula young people receive in their classrooms, and increases the chances that they will attend classes and graduate on time.
Out-of-School Time programs offer opportunities for youth to get involved in community engagement and service opportunities, and help youth connect with other peers and adults in their community.
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Testimonials from OST Participants
Did you know?
Youth who regularly participate in
Out-of-School Time Programs...
• Have lower rates of obesity and can learn to make positive nutritional and lifestyle choices
• Have increased positive outcomes including psychological flourishing, sense of civic engagement, and education attainment
• Are less likely to engage in criminal activity. Are nearly three times less likely to skip class, engage in unhealthy behavior, or experiment with drugs
• Are less likely to drop out of school