Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets
School Age Child Care #3
School Age Children
Condensed from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College. Revised November 1977
- Children spend less than 20 percent of their waking hours in school. Schools are typically open less than half the days of the year, and when they are open they provide care only until mid-afternoon. What happens in the other 80% of their time is critical to children's development.
- Children's activities outside school have a critical impact on school achievement and long-term success. Whether or not their mother is employed, research indicates that the activities children engage in and the quality of adult supervision they receive are as important as family income and parent's education in determining academic success….high amounts of [early]self-care were associated with poor behavior adjustment and academic performance in the sixth grade(Pettitt and Laird,Bates,Dodge 1997)
- Children spend more of their out-of-school time watching television than any other single activity. On average, American children spend 40 hours a week watching television and playing video games. Specifically, children in low-income households are estimated to spend 50% more time watching television than their more affluent peers. Research indicates that children who watch more television than average are more likely to be obese, read less, play less, and have more stereotyped views of sex roles than their peers; they are more aggressive and more fearful of violence (Miller,et al,1997)
- Juvenile crime data reflects the importance of school-age care. Peak hours for juvenile crime are 3 PM to 8 PM; juvenile crime triples in these hours.
- Approximately 24 million school age children require care while their parents are at work.
- Experts estimate that nearly 5 million school age children spend time without adult supervision during a typical week
- Latchkey children are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Latchkey children are at significantly greater risk for truancy, stress, receiving poor grades, risk-taking behavior, and substance abuse.
- A number of studies have found that children who attend good school-age child care programs during the time when their parents are working may experience positive effects on development. Posner and Vandell (1994) found that children in after-school programs had better peer relations, emotional adjustment, grades, and conduct in school than their peers in other care arrangements. These children had more learning opportunities, academic and enrichment activities and spent less time watching television.
- Teachers and principals are recognizing the positive effects of good quality programs for students. The Cooperative Extension Service (Riley et. al., 1994) studied the effects of 64 programs in 15 states that received Extension assistance. Teachers said programs induced children to become more cooperative, learn to handle conflicts, develop an interest in recreational reading, and receive better grades. Over 1/3 of the school principals stated that vandalism in the school decreased as a result of the programs. In addition, 16% of the program children avoided being retained in grades due to program participation. More recently, teachers reported that children who experience positive emotional climates in after school programs exhibit fewer behavior problems in school settings (Pierce, Hamm, Vandell 1997). Conversely, negative interactions in after school programs were associated with more behavior problems and poor social skills in school.
For more information: Wellesley Centers for Women Publications
Submitted by Patricia Cousineau, URI CE Research Associate
For more information please call 401.277.5255
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