Hanging Out: Community-Based After-School Programs for Children

Hanging Out: Community-Based After-School Programs for Children

Hanging Out: Community-Based After-School Programs for Children

Hanging Out: Community-Based After-School Programs for Children

Synopsis

There has been a huge increase in government and foundation funding for after-school programs, but there is very little published research on processes and outcomes (what is available is single-program analysis, often in the form of reports to funding agencies). This collection provides data on the operation of many programs and takes community contexts into account, showing what children actually like and how programs can attract and retain them.

Excerpt

In her editor’s introduction to a 1992 anthology of stories about childhood, Lorrie Moore noted that mothers figure prominently and intimately in the stories. We see them up close. Fathers, on the other hand, are often “powerful absences” (p. xiii).

I wonder if a new anthology of stories would be similar to the 1992 one. Now that the stay-at-home mom is an anachronism, I wonder if mothers would still figure so much more prominently than fathers.

There have been major changes in the last few decades in mothers’ work lives. U.S. Department of Labor documents tell us that in the 1950s and 1960s—when many of the writers featured in the 1992 anthology were growing up—mothers of young children seldom worked for pay. Today, 78% of the mothers of the nation’s schoolchildren are in the labor force. More than half of the women who had a child last year have already returned to work. Many of these women cannot afford not to work.

When mothers work for pay, child care arrangements change. Family members or paid caregivers look after children. They become central figures in the children’s lives.

Sometimes children look after themselves while their parents work. Many school-age children, in particular, “hang out,” unsupervised, between the end of the school day and the time their parents get home. What do the children do? They watch lots of television, do a little homework. They meet other children in their homes or in a public place such as a mall

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