Educator Resources

After school program schedule with downloadable template

Whether you are just starting an after school program or you have been running one for some time, you have likely spent a fair amount of time thinking about how best to organize your schedule. You need to consider both the timing of your after school program as well as the organization of your program day-to-day.

Luckily for you, the team at Sawyer are experts on building and maintaining efficient and successful after school program schedules. Our software helps children’s activity businesses, nonprofits, and schools run efficiently so that they can spend more time working with children and sharing their passions.

In this article, we will go over the best ways to manage your after school program schedule on Sawyer and include a downloadable schedule template that you can utilize for your programming.

Types of school programs

There are a few different types of after school programs and they accomplish different goals. The times you choose for your programming should depend on the type of after school program that you are building. The main goal is to schedule your programming in convenient times that are easily accessible for families.

After care

Some parents are looking for Monday through Friday programming that goes from the end of the school day until the work day ends. This type of program is often called after care. It usually includes time for homework help, outdoor or open play, enrichment activities, and free time. 

If you want to offer after care programming, we recommend that you make connections directly with schools so you can provide pickup and drop off options to families. This makes life much easier for working parents and gives your after school program additional value when they are choosing where to enroll their child.

After school activities

Alternatively, you can create after school programming that is more specific. If you run a children's dance studio or you teach kids soccer, as examples, you can create after school activities that last 30 minutes to 2 hours that relate to your business. The length of your activity as well as the start time should relate to the age of your students. According to the 2021 Sawyer Children’s Activity Trend Report, 3:30pm is the most popular activity start time for children in elementary school and 4-5pm is the most popular for middle and high school aged students.

Here are some more helpful tips for planning your after school program schedule:

  • If you are teaching children in early grades, then we recommend keeping your activity lengths short: between 30 and 50 minutes. Find out when the elementary school lets out and then schedule your activities to start close to that time. Make sure there is enough for families to bring their child to your location plus about 15 to 30 minutes or so to have a snack and unwind from the school day.
  • If your after school activities are for older children, the start time can be closer to the end time of the school day. That way, they can go straight from school to your activity and then return home to start homework. Your activities for older children can also spend more time in your activities, especially if they are advancing their skills. For example, if you are teaching art to older children, you might want to take a full 2 hours so you can go over techniques and then let them explore on their own.
Photo of after school program schedule

After school program schedule

Whether you are running a 3 hour after care after school program or a 30 minute music class for kindergarten and first grade little ones, you need to plan a schedule for each day. The first step towards building a successful schedule is developing your after school program curriculum. When you begin planning your curriculum, you should think about the goals you are hoping your students will accomplish. 

When you know your goals, then you can start to develop your lesson plans and the activities that will comprise the lessons. The length of your program’s sessions can determine the depth to which you plan your lessons and schedule. You can use and adapt this template to fit your needs.

After school program schedule template

This template would work best for an after care style after school program.

  • 3:00 - 3:15pm - Students arrive and settle in
  • 3:15 - 3:30pm - Snack
  • 3:30 - 4:15pm - Homework help
  • 4:15 - 5:15pm - Activity or activities
  • 5:15 - 5:45pm - Free time (games, reading, more homework)
  • 5:45 - 6:00pm - Parent pickup

Then, you should break up the activity section into a full lesson plan so that you stay organized and on track. Here are some ideas for activities:

  • Explore coding with Roblox. Children who have experience with the program can help students who have never used it before. Teaching kids to code is a great way to get them excited for their future and develop important skills.
  • Play a theater game. Get the wiggles out by playing a game like zip, zap, zop or create a shape. Your students will become more expressive and communicative, plus they’ll just enjoy moving around and having fun. Use our guide about teaching musical theater to kids for more inspiration.
  • Practice math by cooking. It might feel like a tough sell to do an academic activity with your after school students because they have just spent 8 hours in school and then done homework, too! But, you can sneak academic enrichment into your after school program activities with cooking. They will have fun working together to create something delicious and you (and their parents) can be happy that they are still learning. Dig in!

Download our after school program schedule template to adapt for your own use this year!

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After school activities schedule

If you are running shorter and more specific after school activities, then we recommend writing out a full lesson plan as if you are teaching a class. You do not need to provide a snack, offer homework help, or include any filler time. Your activity should be efficiently planned and children should feel like they are accomplishing a task during your activity. 

Looking for more guidance on how to write a lesson plan? Check out our full guide.

Photo of after school activities

Planning your after school program schedules efficiently is important if you want your students to learn and grow in your activities. Plus, choosing the right time to start and end your programming will help get more customers. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. 

With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo

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