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How You Can Enrich Your After-School Program

Importance of After-School Programs

While traditional schooling is undoubtedly necessary, so is the presence of after-school programs that focus on the holistic development of children. After-school programs encourage creative learning and key socialization skills necessary in life. Furthermore, these lessons are better absorbed by students because of the relatively flexible and casual setting.

The benefits of after-school programs have been well-documented by various studies and researches. In fact, studies also show that the positive effects of after-school programs also impact children’s attention during regular school hours — they are more likely to complete their homework on time or engage during class.

Furthermore, 80% of all parents also report that after-school programs are a relief to them because they keep children occupied and allow the parents to focus on their jobs. As such, after-school programs have numerous and multifold benefits both for the children and the parents — developing crucial socialization skills in children, taking care of extended supervision, and keeping them preoccupied with productive tasks so they don’t fall into unhealthy patterns and habits.

Basically, the success of an after-school program can be measured with two key metrics:

  • Its ability to increase high school graduation rates and classroom grades.
  • Its ability to decrease the number of teenagers enmeshed in legal and social troubles.

While after school programs have many benefits, these are two objective measurements of their success. So now that you understand exactly why after-school programs are so important, let’s take a closer look at how you can enrich your after-school program.

Update Registration Protocol

You can enrich your after-school program right from the very beginning, i.e., from the registration process. The way you present the registration for the program will be the first impression you make on the parents so you should put your best foot forward.

The online registration form or document should achieve two things — it should help you gather all the necessary information you need to effectively manage your registrants’ database and it should make a positive impression on the parents in order to guide them towards a complete registration.

So let’s focus on both aspects of the purpose and see how you can improve upon the registration protocol. Your registration document should be accessible from any device and needs to collect pertinent information regarding the enrolled children, such as their emergency contacts, immunization tracking, list of allergies, and parental signature.

However, collecting too much information or making the registration too complex can also turn registrants away. In the modern age, people get distracted too fast. So if you over-complicate the registration process, some parents may simply procrastinate or not register their children, which can lower your conversion rate. That’s why you should also try to keep the registration form minimal and limit it to information that you really need while weeding out all of the surplus.
Finally, you need to have a system in place that can automatically document and track all of the registered information. This is important because it will save countless working hours that would otherwise go into logging all of the information manually.

That’s where online registration management software can be useful — it can help you collect all of the registration information with a simple and user-friendly interface and it can also automatically log them so you don’t have to.

Online Schedules

Parents value transparency in their after-school programs. Even if they can’t be physically present to monitor their children, they like to know what they’re doing, especially since after-school programs aren’t a “necessity”.

That’s where online schedules come in. With online registration platforms, you can enter all of the scheduling information and activity lists online. This allows parents to monitor their children’s activities from any device. Essentially, by integrating parents into the after-school programs remotely, you create a stronger and more transparent bond between administrators, students, and parents. This can enrich your after-school program and minimize dropout rates.

New Activities

As already mentioned, your after-school program platform should be able to gain insight from parents. Based on that collective insight regarding activity submissions and recommendations, you can better tailor your after-school program activities to meet the needs of more students.

Your after-school program platform should allow you to track attendance and interest in past activities. This can help you determine which activities are popular or unpopular. As such, you can strategize and decide which activities to focus on, which activities to replace, or how to make unpopular activities seem more desirable.

Data Insight

The only way to improve and enrich your after-school program is to gain a big-picture view of the program’s past performance. You need to use a software or platform that can automatically and continuously track key performance measurements and insight such as attendance in specific activities, individual students’ performance over an extended period, etc.

By tracking the students’ performance both within the after-school program and in relation to their regular schooling, you get a better picture of exactly how your after-school program is impacting students on a larger scale. It allows you to measure their engagement in the program alongside their engagement in classrooms and their social behavior.

Once you have access to this information, you can also create detailed student reports for the parents to show them exactly how the after-school program has benefited their children. Such data insight can increase enrollment in your program and also help you retain the students you already have.

Automated Payments

Payments — both making and receiving payments — can be a stressful and unpleasant situation for everyone. On one hand, parents don’t like to be constantly hassled for payment or having to remember payment cycles. And, on your end, constantly sending out reminders for payments can be time-consuming, inefficient, and lead to a high accounts receivable.

That’s why you need to introduce an online management software that automates the payment cycle — whether it’s a one-time payment during the time of registration or a regular routine payment at specific intervals. The platform should be able to securely accept credit card payment information and initiate recurring charges or auto-drafts from bank accounts.

Conclusion

The benefits of after-school programs cannot be underestimated. Several studies have shown that after-school programs help engender important social skills, encourages participation in social activities, and improve objective performance and behavior in school. However, in order to truly maximize the potential of after-school programs, you need to constantly improve upon your current program.

Online registration software can help you drastically enrich your after-school program. It can help you update your registration protocol for a seamless registration experience that maximizes enrollment, set up online schedules that increase transparency, keep the parents in the loop, create important data insight so you can craft reports for parents regarding the positive effects of the program, and you can automate the payment cycle to reduce inefficiencies in the payment process.

If you implement these strategies, you won’t just enrich your after-school program, but you’ll also increase the administrative efficiency.

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