The sound of the end-of-the-day school bell brings sheer joy to children’s faces, but that also can cause anxiety and create worries for parents. Do you know what your child is doing at 3 p.m. when the school bell rings? Colorado State University Cooperative Extension offers after school programs to children around the state, giving them an opportunity to have fun in a safe environment while learning life skills such as communication, responsibility, leadership and how to make good decisions.
Across America today, 14.3 million children are responsible for themselves when the school day ends, and in Colorado alone, 33 percent of children in kindergarten through 12th grade are responsible for taking care of themselves an average of about six hours per week, according to the 2002-2003 Afterschool Alliance survey.
"Our programs offer positive learning activities for students after school," said Jan Carroll, Colorado State Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development specialist. "Parents can be assured their children are receiving assistance on their school work and learning life skills through multiple activities."
Colorado State Cooperative Extension offers a variety of 4-H programs spread geographically, including El Paso County, the winner of National After School award; Routt County; Huerfano County; and Adams County. In October 2004, 14 counties in Colorado were reported to have 4-H after-school programs.
Each county offers different activities, but all 4-H after-school programs teach life skills, such as communication, decision-making, citizenship and global awareness. The youth, ages 5 to 18, learn these life skills through projects such as baking, cake decorating, science, food and nutrition, sewing, ceramics, electricity, plants, cultural dance and many more.
4-H, America’s largest out-of-school education for boys and girls, provides opportunities for all youth, regardless of race, location or economic situation. It is supported by county, state and federal funds. The curriculum is provided by each state’s land-grant university through that university’s Cooperative Extension, which in Colorado is Colorado State University.
For more information on 4-H after school programs, visit 4hweb.ext.colostate.edu/schoolenrichment/schoolenrichment.shtml, contact Jan Carroll at Colorado State Cooperative Extension at (970)-491-6102 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.