After-school activities, also known as after-school programs or after-school care, started in the early 1900s mainly just as supervision of students after the final school bell. Today, after-school programs do much more. There is a focus on helping students with school work but can be beneficial to students in other ways. An after-school program, today, will not limit its focus on academics but with a holistic sense of helping the student population. An after-school activity is any organized program that youth or adult learner voluntary can participate in outside of the traditional school day. Some programs are run by a primary or secondary school, while others are run by externally funded non-profit or commercial organizations. After-school youth programs can occur inside a school building or elsewhere in the community, for instance at a community center, church, library, or park. After-school activities are a cornerstone of concerted cultivation, which is a style of parenting that emphasizes children gaining leadership experience and social skills through participating in organized activities. Such children are believed by proponents to be more successful in later life, while others consider too many activities to indicate overparenting. While some research has shown that structured after-school programs can lead to better test scores, improved homework completion, and higher grades, further research has questioned the effectiveness of after-school programs at improving youth outcomes such as externalizing behavior and school attendance. Additionally, certain activities or programs have made strides in closing the achievement gap, or the gap in academic performance between white students and students of color as measured by standardized tests. Though the existence of after-school activities is relatively universal, different countries implement after-school activities differently, causing after-school activities to vary on a global scale.

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