Afterschool Alliance Research

Student-centered, active, and engaging learning experiences that build on young people’s interests, while developing their skills and knowledge, are at the heart of high-quality afterschool programs. Young people of all ages can benefit from these experiences, however, there is increasing attention on adolescence as a critical time for exposure to these types of learning opportunities. In addition to a period during which significant neurobiological and social and emotional growth occurs,1 adolescence is a time when young people discover their interests and passions as they begin on their path toward adulthood. Creating new and engaging learning opportunities for middle and high school students can help them find their inspiration, gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom, and play an active role in designing their own learning journey to reach their full potential.