Today’s children grow up differently than their parents did, and perhaps the biggest difference between how today’s kids grow up and how their parents were raised concerns the dynamic at home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 both parents worked in 63 percent of households that were home to married-couple families with children. Many of those parents likely did not grow up in households in which both of their parents worked full-time throughout their childhoods, marking a significant difference in the dynamics of modern families compared to those of yesteryear. Afterschool programs take on heightened importance when both parents work full-time, especially if neither parent works from home. Many schools and community organizations offer afterschool programs. While it’s great to have options, too many options can make it daunting for parents to find the program for their children. The Afterschool Alliance (www.afterschoolalliance.org), which works to ensure all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs, offers the following tips to parents as they look to find afterschool programs for their children.
Contact educators at your child’s school
Many schools have afterschool programs on school premises. Speak with school administrators or teachers about school-sponsored afterschool programs. Even if a school does not have such a program, educators might be able to provide a list of nearby programs other students attend.
Contact community organizations
Many community organizations, such as the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the 4-H Council, may offer afterschool programs. Local churches, synagogues and mosques also may offer afterschool programs to local families, regardless of their religious affiliation. When speaking to community organizations, discuss how kids are typically transported from school to the program.
Speak with fellow parents and neighbors
Your community is a great resource. Fellow parents and neighbors, even those whose kids may be in high school or even out of the house, may be able to recommend local programs. Reach out at school-sponsored events or via social media.
Contact your local government
Local government offices and officials also can help parents find afterschool programs in their communities. Local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (www.childcareaware.org) can be valuable assets for parents having trouble finding afterschool programs for their children.
Finally, check out the local programs listed here to see what might line up with your child’s interest for a good fit. Afterschool programs are invaluable to families in which both parents work, so finding the right program may involve a combination of strategies.
Afterschool and enrichment programs in the Capital District
Youth programs, soccer camps, action camps and youth leagues. Available every day and during all school breaks and holidays.
636 Albany Shaker Road, Albany
Call (518) 438-3131 or visit
Albany Berkshire Ballet
Dance classes for beginner through professional.
25 Monroe St., Albany
Call (518) 426-0660 or visit
Bizzy Beez: A Sensory Adventure
An innovative indoor space where kids of all ages can climb, swing, spin, build and craft their way through a variety of different settings. It is a location that offers interactive, engaging and imaginative sensory experiences.
Afterschool enrichment programs, workshops, field trips and birthday parties.
Wolf Road Shoppers Plaza
145 Wolf Road, Albany
Drama Kids International
Weekly classes for kids ages 4-18 throughout the Capital Region.
Call (518) 458-1313 or visit
Merritt Dance Center
Recreation and competitive dance for preschool through advanced levels.
1360 Albany St., Schenectady
Call 518-372-5282 or visit
Miss Peggy’s Music Room
Early childhood music for little singers and dancers, from ages 3 to adult.
Call (518) 458-2927 or visit
Orlando School of Dance
Register for Fall: creative dance 3-year-olds, preschool, ballet, tap, jazz, and adult programs.
105 Mohawk Ave., Scotia
Call (518) 393-7827 or visit
River Run Montessori
Nurturing your child’s mind, body and curiosity. For ages 3 to grade 8.
210 Morris Road, Colonie
Call (518) 937-9338 or visit
Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Center
Daycare, preschool, pre-K/universal pre-K, before care and afterschool openings.
1840 Van Vranken Ave., Schenectady
Call (518) 372-5961 or visit
Spotted Zebra Learning Center
A state-of-the-art, year-round integrated preschool program and toddler program.
26 Computer Drive East, Albany
The Music Studio
A Capital Region institution, providing comprehensive, piano-based music education in fun and challenging group classes for children ages 2 and up.
Call (518) 459-7799 or visit
Woodland Hill Montessori School
A vibrant school well known for its unique and challenging educational program, warm stimulating environment, and students who are active, independent learners.
Unique toddler program for children ages 18 months through 3 years old.
100 Montessori Place, North Greenbush
Call (518) 283-5400 or visit