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Back to school: choosing an after school club

With the new school year creeping up on us, we’re here to make the process a little less daunting with our back to school transition series! This week we’re talking after school clubs, something the internet is overloaded with information about. In amongst buying new school uniforms and stationery (you can never have too much…) it’s useful to think about after school care in advance. We’ve compiled our top tips for choosing a club here!

Research the basics – this is mostly common sense, but it’s easy to forget the logistics of a club, especially if you’re decision is under time constraints.

Be sure to be certain about the price of the club, how often it runs and for how long, whether it’s appropriate for your child’s age group, who it’s run by  and what the registration process is like. This is not an exhaustive list but may give you ideas for questions if something is not covered on a website or leaflet.

Talk to your child about their interests and then find out what activities are available – do they want to learn a new skill, or nurture an interest they already have? Would the club be a good place to play with friends, do homework or rest after a busy school day? It’s important to take their needs into account since they are the one spending time there.

Visit – most after school clubs allow prospective parents to take a look at the general running of their service. Note how the children interact with other children and staff, get an idea of safety procedures, the quality of resources and the areas available for children to use (whether they are indoor or outdoor). Usually you will get an idea of the club’s atmosphere as soon as you walk in!

Find out what they do to settle in your child – this is useful if your child is shy or anxious in new environments or you have just moved to a new area. There may be a buddy system in place, so your child can make friends, or resources available to make them feel at ease. At Inkpots for example, we put together a welcome pack for every new child!

Trust your and your child’s instincts – if your child starts at their after school club and raises any concerns, or appears to feel uncomfortable there, listen to them and find out if the problem can be rectified. Similarly, if you notice something out of the ordinary when you come to pick up, don’t be afraid to raise the issue with a member of staff.

There we have it – we hope those tips will help push you in the right direction and assist in choosing the right after school care for you and your child. Be sure to check back next week where we’ll be sharing our tips for settling back into the school routine.

Lucy

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