You may have noticed that most children in Canada have additional activities outside of school. Some will be part of a hockey or soccer team or participate in swimming or martial arts (and other sports) after school. Others may attend piano or guitar lessons, learn languages, or enjoy painting or arts and crafts classes. These activities, besides being fun for kids, are an important part of their development. Many studies have shown “ that children and youth who participate in after school programs can reap a host of positive benefits in a number of interrelated outcome areas—academic, social/emotional, prevention, and health and wellness” (Afterschool programs make a difference: Findings from the Harvard Family Research Project, Little, Wimer & Weiss, 2008).
What are after school programs?
An “after school program” is an umbrella term to refer to activities for school-age children and youth usually held after a regular school day. Some may call them school-age child care, extended day programs or extra-curricular activities. These programs are usually housed either in a school or a community organization. The activities can be geared towards supporting school work, building specific skills or talents, providing enjoyment and relaxation, mentorship for higher education or future careers, volunteer work and community service, cultural activities, or a combination of these.
Affordable and high quality after school programs in Manitoba
Looking for a good after school program? Start by assessing your child’s skills and interests. Ask them whether certain after school activities would be exciting or fun for them. You can also ask for advice from their teachers. They can recommend programs that are offered by the school or an institution in your area. Likewise, Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Workers would also have lots of suggestions for free programs in your community.
Here are some after school programs that are free or for a minimal fee for permanent residents and refugees:
- IRCOM After School Programs (homework support, arts and crafts, sports, skill-building)
- NEEDS Inc. Youth After School Program (homework support, computer classes, sports, field trips, arts, civic engagement)
- Before and After School Care – YMCA/YWCA of Winnipeg (sports, recreational activities, skill-building)
- After School Program for Youth with Additional Support Needs – YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg (science experiments, sports, arts and crafts, music, and many others)
- The Peaceful Village After School Program (sports, arts, camping)
- Together After School Programs Salvation Army Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre (recreational activities, sports, arts and crafts)
- Kildonan Youth Activity Centre (KYAC) (homework support, mentorship program (Wayfinders), arts and music, and many others!)
- Teen Stop Jenunesse Programs (A range of programs from learning life skills to music and the arts)
- Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. – Tina’s Safe Haven – (recreational activities, sports, arts, and housing and employment resources for the youth)
- Rossbrook House (various programs from academic support to learning life skills and public speaking)
- West Broadway Youth Outreach (homework support, recreational activities, Film Fest)
- Art City (drawing, photography, digital art, ceramics, and others)
- Code Ninja (If you have a budding Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in the family, they offer coding camps for kids ages 7-14. The cost is around $70 per class)
Developing leadership and social awareness
- YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg Youth Leadership Program (combines leadership, teamwork, self-government and volunteer placement to build confidence and connections)
- Canadian Cadets Organizations (youth ages 12-18 can choose to join Sea, Army or Air Cadets. Activities build self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness)
- Girl Guides – Manitoba Council (learn life and survival skills, love for nature and leadership via camping and other activities)
- Les Guides Franco-Canadiennes (life and survival skills, love for nature and leadership via camping and other activities)
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (leadership and service to community, sports and recreation, arts, health education and life skills)
- Boy/Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts (adventures in nature, youth leadership)
- After School Leaders (ASL) Program (for ages 14-18. Offers a wide range of activities from arts to technology)
Sources: How to find affordable afterschool activities, United Way Winnipeg; What is specifically meant by “after school program?” WNET Education. Accessed October 16, 2019.
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