After School Programs: Expectations vs. Reality

After School Programs: Expectations vs. Reality


When surveying members throughout various communities, there were some interesting assumptions and expectations regarding what after school programs mean to them.



Expectation: After School Programs are just a babysitting service.

A majority of people surveyed said that they expected after school programs to be a babysitting service where, at best, the child is kept safe until the parents can pick them up after work.

Reality: At The Work-Family Connection, we are SO much more than a babysitting service! But, how?!

The Work-Family Connection’s teaching staff believes that the programs should serve as the student’s “home away from home” and are places where a great deal of growth and development take place. Within structure and limits, there needs to be much freedom and many choices. We believe that the environment should be challenging, both mentally and physically, foster independence, teach life skills, and allow students to grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

Based on this philosophy, a flexible daily schedule is developed based on the children’s interests and needs. One of the additional focus areas of the program is to support the academic curriculum of the school day. Many additional activities complement the school day that bring in a WIDE VARIETY of subjects, interests, resources, and exposures. Nearly two -thirds of each afternoon’s schedule is made up of activity choices that include:

  • Enrichment Clubs – Clubs vary per program and are 100% based on the students’ interests. Cooking, sewing, chess, sports, Minecraft, LEGO, the list of clubs is infinite!
  • Homework Club – This club is consistent across all of our after school programs. Parents can decide with their student if they want them to have mandatory attendance or optional attendance in this club. They meet each afternoon so all students have a designated opportunity to complete their homework.
  • Healthy Snacks – WFC serves nutritious snacks daily with a choice of a protein, grain, and fruit or vegetable. 
  • Activity Centers – All students deserve to choose their fun! We offer at least 5 different activity centers each day, typically including the following:
    • Arts & Crafts Center
    • Gym and/or Outside
    • Technology/Computer Center
    • Science Center
    • Community Service & Awareness Center
    • Construction Center
    • Music/Chill-Out Center
    • Recreation Center with Larger Games
    • Table Top Games Center
    • Organized Sports: Non-competitive and competitive / Indoor or Outdoor



Expectation: After School Programs are chaotic, and I don’t know if I can trust the staff.

It is 100% understandable to have these types of concerns. Regardless of all the bells and whistles that a program may offer, student safety and a trusted team of staff should be the #1 priority for parents and guardians. 


Reality: WFC students stay engaged and are well supervised by fully vetted staff!

WFC ensures that your child is in a safe and well supervised environment. Our programs are educational and recreational in nature, providing extended learning opportunities that keep the students interested, engaged, and out of trouble while having FUN!

The Work-Family Connection programs are known for our high standards of excellence. Our low student to staff ratios minimizes the opportunity for chaos. All WFC programs are licensed and nationally accredited with qualified, nurturing staff. Our staff are required to fulfill ongoing training hours each year and are First Aid and CPR certified.

All staff members are required to go through extensive screening prior to their employment with us. This includes fingerprint background checks, Child Abuse checks, reference and prior employment checks, and medical clearance.



Expectation: After School Programs are expensive.

Many child care providers offer rigid, limited scheduling options. This means that often times you are paying for way more child care than you actually need!

Reality: At WFC, you only pay for the care that you need!

We understand that every family has different work schedules and extra-curricular commitments throughout the school year. With our families’ needs in mind, we developed various registration options, so that you aren’t paying for care that you won’t be using. Some of our options include: 

    • Flexible Monthly Schedules: Register for 1-5 days per week with after school pick up times of 4 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm, or 6:30 pm.
    • Drop In Only: If you aren’t sure how frequently your child will be attending or you need to change your attendance days each week, then Drop In registration may be the choice for you! Register once and then drop in when needed, only being charged for the days you attended.
    • Full Day Programs: These programs are offered in a centralized location so that on days when schools have planned closures, WFC is open! These full days come at a separate cost, so you are only paying if you need to attend.


In addition to the importance of having flexible registration options to choose from, it is also important to remember that many times you get what you pay for. Inexpensive programs may end up being simply a babysitting experience, as some may have come to expect. Alternatively, just because a program is expensive does not mean that you will be getting a high-quality experience. It is equally as important to reach out to the provider, ask questions, check out the facilities, and most importantly… trust your gut! 

If you come across a truly genuine high-quality before and after school program (such as WFC!) but the tuition is higher than you are able to afford, there may be financial assistance programs available to you. Some financial aid programs that WFC works with are:



If you would like to hear additional information about The Work-Family Connection’s high-quality before and after school programs (and summer camps!) please reach out to us. We’d love to chat with you!