Are your kids looking for some after-school fun this year? With a full year of online learning, we can all agree we are a little burnt out and ready for in-person socialization. Here are the 10 things you should look for when choosing an after-school program as we transition back to in-person learning.

What is the company’s mission?

Finding a program whose mission aligns with your own personal values is very important. You want your kids to be in a program that helps them grow, learn and connect with the people around them. Our mission for example, is building community and meaningful relationships around the things your kids are passionate about. When a new student signs up for one of our classes, the goal is of course for them to learn something new, but the experience is also at the forefront. It’s in our name after all!

Who are the instructors or staff members?

Our instructors are the grown up versions of the kids they teach. Our core admin staff and instructors constantly discuss what video games they are playing, what their character is doing in their Dungeons & Dragons campaign, sharing music and more. All of our instructors also practice within the field that they teach in, so their real-world experiences help support the class material. DAE Admin Team/Instructors 

Is the environment social?

After-school programs and activities are a place for your child to make new friends. You should ask these questions to help you figure out the best fit for your kids:

  • How big are the groups?
  • What are the ages?
  • How do the instructors interact with the kids?

Collaboration

Collaboration begins very early in life. It’s important to encourage children to participate in group activities to learn how to respect one another, work with others, and learn how to resolve conflicts respectfully, says Michelle Balani on Today.com. Many of our classes give kids the opportunity to make things together, or solve problems. On the flip side, we collaborate with many local schools and organizations to provide after-school classes and clubs right in their space. Working with schools is one of favorite parts of the year – the teachers and principals we work with is always a wonderful experience. A few of the schools and organizations we have worked with:

  • AT&T Code Heroes
  • Edgemont School District
  • Quaker Ridge School 
  • Scarsdale Public Schools
  • The Children’s Village 
  • The White Plains Youth Bureau

The DAE in Your School

Minecraft Tournament in early 2020

Safety

Safety is a top priority when picking an after-school program. How often are things cleaned? What is the protocol in case of an emergency? At The DAE, we want to always make sure our environment is conducive to everyone’s needs throughout the day while they’re here. Especially during this time – all staff members are fully vaccinated and everyone who enters are space is required to wear a mask. All equipment and tools are sanitized before and after every use.

Do kids get personal attention?

Parents often tell us that they greatly appreciate the one-on-one attention and support their kids receive at The DAE. This is why we keep classes small! We find this makes kids feel special and comfortable asking for help if they need it. So even if your child does extremely well on their own, they may crave personal attention without you even realizing.

Opportunities to be creative

You may think that creativity is a talent, but actually it’s a skill. Teachers are fantastic at facilitating creativity among kids by allowing them ask questions and be imaginative. To be creative means you are very flexible and can come up with new solutions to problems. When students face a problem in the class, we don’t have to tell them the answer right away. With some gentle guidance, letting them try to figure it out themselves gives them the opportunity to fail, which is 100% okay! Students are then more likely to remember the solution next time.

Are kids’ interests taken into account?

This is extremely important because kids are more interested in new or abstract topics when their interests are applied. For example, this summer we had a 2-week Intro to Python course, and our instructor realized that every student in the class loves Pokémon, so they created a text-based fighting game and learned how to program moves and even health points.

Do other parents recommend the program?

Taking time to read up on Google reviews and Facebook recommendations are a great way to see how customers are talking about the company and their program. Here are a few quotes from our parents:

“The DAE helped my son get through the pandemic with your online classes. He’s so excited to be back in person at The DAE this summer with other kids like him.”

“My kid started a different camp this week and wasn’t happy. He’s a computer kid and this camp is MUCH more his vibe.”

“The workers are very professional and they care about the kids!”