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The graduation thesis of Elze Hulshof and Nienke Matser suggests that children of 7–9 years are satisfied with their after-school care. The two Master’s students of Educational Sciences studied the range of activities, the atmosphere, the style of supervision, and other aspects. 86% of the children stated that they felt positively about the care.
For this study, Elze and Nienke carried out surveys of 78 location managers and spoke to 113 children at 14 after-school care locations of Smallsteps childcare. They also compared the educational policy to the literature and surveyed the educational staff regarding their role, the basic goals, and the points for attention in the organisation of activities. This revealed general agreement between literature, policy, and practice.
The children are most satisfied about the range of activities (96%). They find diversity especially important, such as a combination of outdoor games, creative games, and electronic games. 75% is positive about the way in which the supervisors deal with them, and 75% think that they are given plenty of room for their own initiative. Contrary to expectations, there is no difference between ages: 7-, 8-, and 9-year-olds are equally satisfied. And the results between boys and girls are also more or less equal.
The study results in a number of practical recommendations. Not all after-school care centres work with the age distribution of 4–6, 7–9, and 10–12, and educational staff would like more specific information about the developmental areas of these age categories. Elze and Nienke recommend including the developmental groups explicitly in policy and making information videos available. Child participation should also be given even greater attention, for instance by stating clear or concrete examples.
Elze and Nienke have graduated with an 8+ grade and would love to share their research results. Would you like to see the complete study, including all practical recommendations as well as the follow-up study? Then contact Helen Faasse from KidsFoundation via firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 (0)6 1117 4728.