Researchers surveyed a sample of 3,031 respondents, including 2,020 parents and guardians of K-8 children in public/public charter schools, 631 teachers, and 380 OST providers.
How do parents perceive the role of out-of-school-time (OST) programs in their children’s social, emotional, and academic development? And how does that compare to the views of teachers and program providers?
Answering those questions was the goal of a national survey of more than 3,000 parents, teachers, and OST program providers.
The survey was conducted by Arlington, VA-based market research firm Edge Research and Learning Heroes, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the voice of parents in education.
The survey found that parents have three priorities for what they want OST programs to address for their children:
The report also found that parents see a distinct role for OST experiences that is different from home or school. Parents view OST programs as settings in which children develop social skills like teamwork, confidence, leadership, and perseverance.
Conducted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey revealed significant worries among parents about its impact. Many feared their children were struggling academically, socially, and emotionally.
There were some clear differences in perspectives among parents, teachers, and OST providers.
The top indicators for teachers, on the other hand, were: the staff is trustworthy (84%), children are developing social and emotional skills (81%), and physical safety of the environment (80%). And, among OST providers the top markers included: the staff is trustworthy (70%), the staff is caring (64%), children are meeting new people/making new friends of diverse backgrounds (63%).
The survey’s findings also pointed to an unequal access to quality OST programs. For example, families with children in OST programs reported higher incomes and more education than non-OST parents.
Parents also identified cost, time, and transportation as barriers keeping them from participating in OST programs. In rural towns and less affluent districts, geography posed another stumbling block.
In conjunction with the report, there’s an online Playbook to help educators, providers, and advocates use the survey findings to communicate the value of OST activities.