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Incorporating Social-Emotional Learning into After-School Programs

After school programs - four children sitting on yoga mats meditating

One of the hardest adjustments for students last year was the loss of extracurricular programs. Not only do after-school programs and activities present an additional way to learn and improve on various interests, but they are also the perfect opportunity to boost student’s social skills in a fun environment.

Thankfully, after over one year of virtual/hybrid learning and cancelled extracurriculars, many after-school programs are once again open for enrollment. These programs are shown to provide a wide variety of benefits that students may desperately need now – post-pandemic – more than ever. A quality after-school program fills the time after-school with unique learning opportunities and ways to develop and practice skills, including social-emotional ones.

Social-emotional benefits of after-school programs

Boosts confidence 

After-school activities can boost a student’s confidence and help diminish any anxious feelings caused by academic or social demands, especially for those who face learning challenges. To students, after-school activities may not feel as high stakes or high pressure as school does. Because of this, students may be more willing to try new things, test new skills, and take more (positive) risks. This, in turn, can lead to higher self-esteem and boosted self confidence

Makes learning fun 

Sometimes learning can feel like a chore, especially in subject or skill areas where students may need extra support. After-school activities and programs that place an emphasis on having fun can help reengage students in the learning process. In after-school programs, students will likely work in groups and in a lower stress environment compared to their typical day at school. This structure provides students with opportunities to learn, grow, fail, and succeed at their own pace, making learning much less stressful and much more fun.

Fosters a sense of community and belonging 

After-school programs and activities can be a great opportunity for students to meet new people and make connections in new environments. Because many after-school programs focus on socialization, forming friendships, developing social skills, and promoting belonging and inclusion, they can help students develop lasting friendships with their peers which leads to improved wellbeing in and out of school. 

Using Everyday Speech as part of after-school programs

Looking for ways to liven up your after-school programming? Lucky for you, Everyday Speech has a multitude of resources and materials to help you implement successful and fun after-school activities! Here are two high quality after-school programs you can implement in person or virtually using Everyday Speech’s Social Learning Platform.

Social skills groups

Social skills groups are small groups (typically two to eight kids) typically led by a school social worker or SLP. The goal of a social skills group is to teach students, often those with learning differences, how to interact appropriately with their peers. Social skills groups practice building conversational, friendship, and problem-solving skills with activities, games, and videos.

Everyday Speech has a huge library of social skills materials to choose from, along with no-prep curriculum that makes it easy for social skills group leaders to put together the day’s agenda. Learn more:

Already an Everyday Speech subscriber? Try these recommended videos for social skills groups!

Mindfulness Club 

Creating a Mindfulness Club is a great way to support student’s mental health as they return to school or as they continue to learn virtually. Developing mindfulness skills enhances students’ self-regulation skills, enabling them to return to a calm state of mind when they feel their emotions getting the best of them.

You can use Everyday Speech mindfulness materials to teach various breathing, meditation, and stretching techniques. No mindfulness training required on your part; just press play!

For Everyday Speech subscribers – try our fan favorite mindfulness videos:

Once I discovered Everyday Speech, it has opened up a whole new world of appropriate videos for social skills training. I find that my students are engaged and enjoy discussing the videos…If someone is not sure if Everyday Speech will work for them, I would encourage them to just try it. Everyday speech makes lesson planning so much easier. Everything that you need for social skills training is all in one place!

– Vanessa T., CCC-SLP
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