STEM Education in Afterschool Programs is on the Rise


Approximately 10 million children are involved in some sort of afterschool program. This number has been on the rise in recent years and, now, 1 in 4 families have a child in some form of a school program. So what are these children doing during this time? 

A recent study done by Afterschool Alliance found that 73 percent of parents have reported their child’s afterschool program offering some form of STEM education. The statistic goes further into detail sharing that 60 percent said their children are participating in afterschool STEM at least twice a week. 

It is a common misconception that learning has stopped once the final school bell rings and kids enter afterschool programs. This is far from the truth. Many schools are beginning to incorporate fun educational learning opportunities into their afterschool lesson plans. With STEM jobs constantly rising and an emphasis being put on STEM education, this has been a focal point for afterschool programs around the United States.   

Afterschool & STEM Learning

This article was originally posted by Afterschool Alliance

Afterschool programs play a major role in providing meaningful science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences to diverse groups of youth. These subjects help students succeed in school and prepare them for careers that are driving global economic growth.

Nationwide, states and schools are engaging diverse partners like afterschool programs, libraries, museums, universities, and businesses to ensure students have access to high-quality STEM education. By fully utilizing the hours outside of school, and taking an all hands on deck approach to maximize collective impact, we can ensure our students are prepared for the future. Afterschool and summer programs spark learning and ignite interest by letting youth experiment with STEM ideas in real-world situations.

Using STEM Sports® Curricula in Afterschool Programs

STEM Sports® curricula use sports as a way to facilitate STEM learning. Each standardized curriculum is designed and created so each lesson can be student-led, where adults are there to assist where needed. With students taking the initiative, they are able to work on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be transferred to other areas of their education and life. 

The curricula are designed to complement and enforce the 21st-century teaching methods that are being widely used throughout teaching and learning. “Twenty-first-century learning means that students master content while producing, synthesizing, and evaluating information from a wide variety of subjects and sources with an understanding of and respect for diverse cultures,” CEO and Founder of Center of Teacher Quality Barnett Berry said. STEM Sports® highlights the three ‘C’s’: collaboration, communication, and creativity. 

By using the unique combination of STEM and sports, the curriculum allows students to learn through play. Hands-on learning has been proven to increase student engagement, comprehension, and retention. The physical aspect of hands-on learning, provided by STEM Sports® curricula, makes students feel like they are playing rather than learning. This can be used to benefit educators in a setting where kids may not want to be doing schoolwork. This is often referred to as disguised or stealth learning. A bonus: his method of teaching doesn’t require training or professional development.

Disguised learning can be more intriguing to students and allows them to use and develop soft skills. Soft skills are personality traits that provide answers to the following questions, such as: 

  • Are you a leader?
  • Are you able to communicate effectively with others?
  • How are you in a collaborative group setting?
  • Can you think critically about a topic and develop solutions?

These skills are often overlooked or pushed to the side during a child’s education. But, that does not make it less important. An afterschool program is a great time to let students work on the soft skills that will benefit them in their personal lives and future careers. 

STEM Sports® believes in the mission of developing the whole child. That includes mental health, physical health, classroom success, and emotional intelligence. Our curricula are suited for afterschool programs, summer camps, classrooms, and physical education classes. We have created this wide scope of use so we can reach as many children as possible. 

The world is changing and is requiring more STEM-skilled workers than ever before. That is why we, as a company, believe every student, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status, deserves access to quality STEM education.

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