Parents

Welcome Parents! On these pages, you will find useful information about out-of-school time (OST) programs.

Did you know that program facilitators welcome opportunities to meet parents? Please feel free to contact your local facilitator and engage in out-of-school time.

Why are OST (out-of-school time) programs beneficial?

There are several reasons structured programs have been recognized as a place for children and adolescents to become involved during out-of-school hours. For example, researchers have found participation in structured programs/organized activities to be linked to:

  • Children can benefit a lot from participating in structured activities during the after school hours.
  • Programs are typically a safe space for children, especially before and after school hours when parents/guardians are not always available to supervise.
  • Relationships with peers and adults in the school and community are important for developing children’s social and emotional skills.
  • Many elementary school-aged children often spend their out-of-school hours unsupervised and coming home after school to an empty house.
  • OST opportunities can:
    • Offer supportive programs for families
    • Improve children’s social and emotional well-being
    • Improve connections as children develop healthy relationships
    • Improve physical health.

With 77% of Canadian mothers in the workforce, and limited resources available for adequate childcare in Canada, children experience an increase of unsupervised and discretionary time, and an increased use of technology.

Elementary school-aged children spend an average of 7.5 hours per day using a combination of technology (e.g., television, video games, internet, cell phones, MP3 players).

With 77% of Canadian mothers in the workforce, and limited resources available for adequate childcare in Canada, children experience an increase of unsupervised and discretionary time, and an increased use of technology.

Quality OST Programs

Check out this checklist on what to look for when searching for quality OST programs for your child.

Based on research, quality OST programs typically include the following:

Elementary school-aged children spend an average of 7.5 hours per day using a combination of technology (e.g., television, video games, internet, cell phones, MP3 players).

What types of OST programs are available in the Lower Mainland?

OST programs include structured and organized activities such as:

  • Team sports
  • Individual sports,
  • Tutoring clubs,
  • Arts or music based programs, and
  • Mentorship

OST programs also include unstructured programs such as:

  • Drop-ins, and
  • Youth lounges

OST programs can be:

  • Registered programs,
  • Non-registered programs, or
  • Term-based

OST programs offer a range of dates and times. Check out your child’s school, local parks and recreation centres, and community centres for more details.

Where and how can children participate in OST programs?

Check out your city’s community centre websites and parks and recreation websites for more information on how and when to register children for upcoming programs/activities.

OST programs can also be found in your local schools. Check out your school district’s website for more information: