Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Scheduling Afternoon Activities

03/07/1995

Whether and how to structure afternoon activities for full- day children is an issue each grantee has to address. Each director was asked about the types of afternoon activities the children are engaging in. Four of the grantees reported that the children are involved in some type of structured learning activities in the afternoon (Exhibit 2). For programs that have some structured afternoon activities, these activities usually involve a short circle-time activity and then a continuation of a morning small group activity.

For the other grantees, afternoon activities are unstructured. In these programs, the directors indicated that scheduling any structured activities in the afternoon is difficult for two reasons. First, children begin to be picked up by their parents as early as 3:00 p.m. This causes a disruption in activities both for those leaving and those staying. And second, children begin to tire in the later part of the day making it more difficult to focus on and complete their projects. One director, for example, indicated that all children are picked up by 3:30 p.m. By the time the children finish their naps, have a snack, and have gone to the bathroom, there are only a few minutes left before the end of the day. Planning afternoon activities is not feasible in this circumstance.

[Exhibit 2 here is a chart of the programmatic characteristics of grantees visited for the study.]