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Life After School Essay Wikipedia Encyclopedia

An after-school activity is any organized program that youth 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.[1] Such children are believed by proponents to be more successful in later life, while others consider too many activities to indicate overparenting.[2] While some research has shown that structured after-school programs can lead to better test scores, improved homework completion, and higher grades,[3] further research has questioned the effectiveness of after-school programs at improving youth outcomes such as externalizing behavior and school attendance.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.

Structure and organization[edit]

Typical activities[edit]

There are myriad organized after-school activities, for children and youth. They can focus on a variety of activities or issues, such as:

  • Sports, including soccer, baseball, scooter racing, hockey, swimming
  • Performing arts, including dance, drama, ballet, choir, and band
  • Creative arts, including painting, drawing, crafts
  • Academic enrichment, including Cramming schools for literacy, mathematics, etc.
  • Test preparation, including Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Sylvan Learning among others.
  • Outdoor education, including Scouting, Girl Guides, Boys' Brigade, Camp Fire, 4-H, cadets
  • Financial literacy, including Jump$tart, Junior Achievement, and others.
  • Extracurricular activities in schools, including DECA, Future Business Leaders of America, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Community outreach, including After-School All-Stars and Boys and Girls Club of America


Many elementary, middle, and high schools host after-school activities. Some after-school activities are provided by community centres and are free of charge, while others are provided by for-profit businesses which charge for membership. The organization and management of after-school activities often varies from country to country and depending on cultural background.

Case countries[edit]


A number of players have started providing after-school support services, but the number is still very small considering India's large population and the importance of education to the Indian middle class and others. More players should be entering the market to provide quality support, which the normal schools with larger class sizes and traditional teaching techniques don't provide. From the existing set of after-school study providers the ones most sought after are the ones with individualized learning modules that complement the K-12 school syllabus. Way2Success Learning Systems is the first for-profit provider in India of academically oriented individualized after-school programs that complement the school syllabus. They operate in the New Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad areas. NutSpace Edtech Pvt. Ltd. uses its proprietary Inventive Thinking Methodology to build 21st Century Skills in Children. It helps children develop leadership qualities, enhance skills like: communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. They currently operate from Kanpur and Lucknow.


Many after-school programs in Taiwan surround academic enrichment and test preparation. Scholars Chen and Lu researched the impact of academic after-school activities amongst secondary school students in Taiwan, and their 2009 study showed that after-school academic enrichment programs and private cram schools in Taiwan increase students’ educational achievement but have a negative effect on students’ psychological well-being.[7]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

In the United Arab Emirates, Afterschool.ae is an innovative online marketplace platform that allows parents to find, plan and book children's activities, and helps kids' activity providers to get found online.[8]

United Kingdom[edit]

After-school activities in Britain are typically organised commercially and paid for by parents. Many children attend several a week, and occasionally even more than one per day. Similar activities also occur at weekends.

There is typically less focus on the managed "enrichment" than in the USA, beyond the basic choice of activity; for example football (soccer) is physically active and develops teamwork.

United States[edit]

After school programs are very common today in the United States. The 40 largest national youth organizations today have a total membership of about 40 million youths. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America focus mainly on positive youth development. Their staff provides information, guidance, and emotional support regarding a wide range of issues that youths face in often high-risk neighborhoods.[3] There are national after-school programs in place as well as national advocates for access to after-school programs, like Afterschool Alliance, but many after-school programs in the United States operate at the state level.[9]

In Virginia, Beans and Rice Organization is a community economic development organization that builds assets and develops capacities in low and moderate income families through economic and educational programs. Beans and Rice offers afterschool programs in Pulaski and Radford, Virginia. Volunteers serve as mentors, tutors, and teachers. All volunteers receive training and close supervision from both Beans and Rice staff and experienced volunteers. Elementary students who participate in the Beans and Rice after school programs are given a snack, tutoring, active play opportunities, and positive role models.[10]

In Texas, a statewide program exists for creating after-school programs: Texas Afterschool Centers on Education, or Texas ACE. Texas ACE is a part of the Texas Education Agency, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which sponsors afterschool enrichment programs at under-resourced schools in the U.S.[11]

In California, after-school programming at the secondary level is funded primarily with 21st Century High School ASSETS (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) program grants. These grants stipulate programs must include academic, enrichment, and health and nutrition components. The after-school programs at California's elementary schools are predominantly funded with ASES (After-School Education & Safety) Program grants mandated when voters statewide approved California's Proposition 49 (2002). These grants provide for much of what the ASSETS grants provide at the secondary level, though there is an added family literacy component. Throughout Southern California, non-profit providers work in partnership with school districts to provide after-school programs for k-12 students. Typically school districts apply for the grants to fund the local after-school programs. Then districts either elect to manage those program internally or outsource management to a Community-based organization (CBO), Non-governmental organization (NGO) or other local non-profit provider. Beyond the Bell is a district run and managed after-school program offered to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). THINK Together, California's largest non-profit provider, contracts with approximately 20 Southern California school district partners to run and manage academically oriented after-school programs at approximately 200 school sites located across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Benefits of after-school activities[edit]

Positive use of time[edit]

Some working parents wish for their children to be more supervised during after-school hours, which Mahoney, Larson, and Eccles's 2005 study discovered to be a leading reason for student enrollment in structured after-school programs.[1] Likewise, in a 2010 article, scholars Wu and Van Egeren found that some parents enroll their students in after-school programs in order to give them a supervised, safe place to spend time.[12] Many after-school activities take place in the afternoons of school days, on the weekends, or during the summer, thereby helping working parents with childcare. While some after-school programs serve as a day-care facility for young children, other programs specifically target adolescents in middle and high schools—providing opportunities for children of all ages.

Some proponents of these programs argue that if left unsupervised, children and adolescents may fall into undesirable activities such as sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, or gang-affiliated activity.[13][14] Since adolescents are old enough to be left unsupervised, they have a higher risk of engaging in criminal behavior than young children do, which may increase the perceived need for constructive after-school programs, as Cook, Godfredson, and Na argue in their 2010 article in the journal Crime and Justice.[15] In the United States, interest in utilizing after-school programs for delinquency-prevention increased dramatically after research found that juvenile arrest rates peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on school days.[16] By keeping students involved in school related activities, it lessens the chance for them to get involved in criminal activity or abuse drugs and alcohol.[3]

Academic growth[edit]

Studies show that afterschool programs are beneficial for both children and adolescents. A 1994 long-term study by Posner and Vandell found that children in structured, academic afterschool programs had increased academic achievement when compared to their peers.[17] Researchers chose a pool of children who had taken part in some sort of after-school program and another pool of children who did not take part in a formal after-school program as a control group. They gave assessments to the children, their parents, and their teachers in order to determine the children's levels of academic achievement, and the results showed that students who had taken part in a structured after-school program were more likely to have better grades and to perform higher in math and reading tests than those who had not taken part in an after-school program.[17] Similarly, a 2010 study by Durlak, Weissberg, and Pachan showed that both children and adolescents experienced significant academic gains by taking part in afterschool programs.[18]

Behavioral growth[edit]

There's mixed evidence as to whether afterschool programs positively impact youth behavioral outcomes.[4] The Posner and Vandell study showed that students who had taken part in an after-school program also exhibited more emotional stability and signs of social adjustment than their counterparts. In particular, students in an after-school activity behaved better and adjusted more smoothly when transitioning to new grades or new schools, most notably in the transition from middle to high school.[17] Other studies provided quantitative data in support of these behavioral benefits by showing that students who participate in an after-school program on average have less disciplinary citations, are suspended less, and are expelled less than their peers who do not participate in any activity.[18][19] On the other hand, a study of after-school programs in Maryland found participants to engage in more rebellious behavior than non-participants.[20]

Closing the achievement gap[edit]

After-school activities have had proven impacts on decreasing the gap in academic achievement between white students and students of color in the United States.[6] In her 2005 study of efforts to address the racial achievement gap in urban areas, psychologist Julie Bryan noted that after-school activities can strongly benefit a student's socio-emotional health and academic performance.[21] The students that she worked with identified extracurricular activities, after-school opportunities for academic aid, and summer enrichment programs as important contributions to their academic success and personal growth.[21] One aspect of this success is that after-school activities give students the opportunity to deepen relationships with adult mentors, such as sports coaches, teachers, and community leaders. Research shows that having caring and supportive adult presences in the lives of students greatly increases their sense of self-worth, academic achievement, and capabilities for resiliency in the face of adverse circumstances like poverty and abuse.[21][22] A 2000 study by Gutman and Migley connects the benefits of students having close relationships with caring adults with a decrease in the achievement gap.[5]

Summer learning loss[edit]

After-school activities can play a role in combatting summer learning loss, which refers to the amount of academic skills that students lose during the summer holidays due to a lack of exposure to academic material.[23] According to a series of 39 meta-analyses collected by Harris Cooper in a study on elementary and early childhood education, students' test scores drop significantly from the last day of school in the spring to the first day in the fall; on average, the summer break sets students back over a month.[24] For primary and secondary school students, reading comprehension, in particular, is highly effected by summer learning loss.[25] If students are able to participate in academic activities during the summer months, they are less likely to be at risk for summer learning loss.[23] Currently, students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have access to and participate in academic activities during the summer months, which gives them an advantage in academic achievement during the school year when compared to their peers with lower socioeconomic statuses.[23][24]

Criticisms of after-school activities[edit]

Rigid structure[edit]

One criticism of after-school activities is that they provide too much rigidity within a child's life. Advocates of slow parenting believe that children should be allowed to develop their own ideas.[26] Getting bored is a step towards having an idea for something else to do, and having little or no adult interference allows children to express their own creativity. Proponents of this theory argue that structured after-school programs have the potential to take away avenues for such creativity and self-expression amongst children. Similarly, the Taoist concept of wu wei, literally translated as "non-action," supports spontaneity in daily life.[27] Thus, while there may be some children that benefit from being supervised and pushed towards didactic goals through organized after-school activities, others might end up achieving more on their own, or with minimal supervision.

Indicative of overparenting[edit]

Another criticism of after-school activities is that participating in them has the potential to lead to increased stress and anxiety amongst students. Children participating in many organized after-school activities is one common symptom of overparenting.[28] In overparenting, which is more common among middle or upper-class families, parents tend to heavily monitor their child's schedule for the sake of protecting their child or improving their social skills, academic development, and/or future prospects.[28] This has the potential to lead to lasting psychological issues amongst children, such as poorly developed independence and coping skills, low self-esteem, and stress- and anxiety-related disorders.[28] In her study The Price of Privilege, psychologist Madeline Levine examined the psychological effects of overparenting on socioeconomically privileged children, including the impact of participating in after-school activities. She found that children of wealthy families were more likely to suffer psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. By spending so much time in organized after-school activities that their parents signed them up for, the children that Levine worked with failed to adequately develop self-management, which is a powerful precursor to both psychological inner strength and academic achievement.[2]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Lindsey, Jennifer, "Quality After School Time: An Evaluative Study of the Eastside Story After School Program in Austin, TX" (2010). Applied Research Projects. Texas State University Paper 322. http://ecommons.txstate.edu/arp/322

External links[edit]

Former United States First Lady Michelle Obama joins students in Miami, Florida for an after-school yoga class in the Let's Move! public health campaign.
The logo for Afterschool Alliance, an advocate of the expansion of resources for after-school programs in the United States.
  1. ^ abMahoney, Joseph L.; Larson, Reed; Eccles, Jacquelynne S. (2005). Organized activities as contexts of development: extracurricular activities, after-school and community programs. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 45. ISBN 0-8058-4431-7. 
  2. ^ abLevine, Madeline (2006). The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. Harper Collins. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-06-059584-5. 
  3. ^ abcHirsch, B. J. (2011). "Learning and Development in After-School Programs". Phi Delta Kappan. 92 (5): 66–69. doi:10.1177/003172171109200516. 
  4. ^ abKremer, Kristen P.; Maynard, Brandy R.; Polanin, Joshua R.; Vaughn, Michael G.; Sarteschi, Christine M. (2015-03-01). "Effects of After-School Programs with At-Risk Youth on Attendance and Externalizing Behaviors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 44 (3): 616–636. doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0226-4. ISSN 0047-2891. 
  5. ^ abGutman, Leslie Morrison; Midgley, Carol (2000). "The role of protective factors in supporting the academic achievement of poor African American students during the middle school transition". Journal of youth and adolescence. 29 (2): 223–249. 
  6. ^ abHaycock, Kati (2001). "Closing the Achievement Gap". Educational Leadership. 58 (6): 6–11. 
  7. ^Chen, Su Yen; Lu, Luo (2009). "After-school time use in Taiwan: Effects on educational achievement and well-being". Adolescence. 44 (176): 891. 
  8. ^"Afterschool.ae to Launch a Mobile Application for Android and iOS". Yahoo Finance. June 8, 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  9. ^http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/aboutUs.cfm
  10. ^Beans & Rice home page
  11. ^Texas Education Agency (2014). "2016-2017 Strategic Plan for Expanded Learning Opportunities". Expanded Learning Opportunities Council to the Commissioner of Education. 
  12. ^Wu, H.; Van Egeren, L. A. (2010). "Voluntary Participation and Parents' Reasons for Enrollment in After-School Programs: Contributions of Race/Ethnicity, Program Quality, and Program Policies". Journal of Leisure Research. 42 (4): 591–620. doi:10.1080/00222216.2010.11950220. 
  13. ^Snyder, Howard N.; Melissa Sickmund. (1999). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report(PDF). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. p. 65. 
  14. ^After-school fact sheetArchived March 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^Cook, P. J., Gottfredson, D. C., & Na, C. (2010). School crime control and prevention. Crime and Justice, 39, 313-440. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/852897884
  16. ^Frabutt, J. 2004. Do after school programs reduce delinquency? Retrieved from "Archived copy"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  17. ^ abcPosner, J.K.; Vandell, D.L. (1994). "Low-Income Children's After-School Care: Are there Beneficial Effects of After-School Programs?". Child Development. 65 (2): 440–456. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00762.x. 
  18. ^ abDurlak, J.A.; Weissberg, R.P.; Pachan, M. (2010). "A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills in children and adolescents". American Journal of Community Psychology. 45 (3–4): 294–309. doi:10.1007/s10464-010-9300-6. 
  19. ^Apsler, R. (2009). "After-school programs for adolescents: A review of evaluative research". Adolescence. 44 (173): 1. 
  20. ^Weisman, S. A., Womer, S. C., Kellstrong, M., Bryner, S., Kahler, A., Slocum, L. A.; et al. (2003). Maryland After-School Community Grant Program Part 1: Report on the 2002–2003 school year evaluation of the phase 3 after-school programs. College Park, MD: University of Maryland. 
  21. ^ abcBryan, Julia (2005). "Fostering educational resilience and achievement in urban schools through school-family-community partnerships". Professional School Counseling: 219–227. 
  22. ^Laursen, Erik (2003). "Caring relationships as a protective factor for at-risk youth: An ethnographic study". Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 84 (2): 240–246. doi:10.1606/1044-3894.101. 
  23. ^ abcMaríñez-Lora, Ané M; Quintana, Stephen M. (2010). "Summer Learning Loss". Encyclopedia of cross-cultural school psychology. Springer US: 962–963. 
  24. ^ abCooper, Harris M. (2003). "Summer learning loss: The problem and some solutions". ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. 
  25. ^Allington, Richard L.; McGill-Franzen, Anne (2010). "Addressing summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students". Reading Psychology. 31 (5): 411–427. doi:10.1080/02702711.2010.505165. 
  26. ^Honoré, Carl (2008). Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From The Culture Of TYPEr-Parenting. Orion. ISBN 978-0-7528-7531-6. 
  27. ^Loy, David (1985). "Wei-wu-wei: Nondual action". Philosophy East and West. 35 (1): 73–86. doi:10.2307/1398682. 
  28. ^ abcBernstein, Gaia; Zvi, Triger (2010). "Over-Parenting". UC Davis Law Review. 44: 1226–1227, 1276. 

This article is about institutions for learning. For the concept of "schooling", see Education. For other uses of the word "school", see School (disambiguation) and Educational institution.

"Schooling" redirects here. For the surname, see Schooling (surname).

A school is an institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory.[citation needed] In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country (discussed in the Regional section below) but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university.

In addition to these core schools, students in a given country may also attend schools before and after primary and secondary education. Kindergarten or pre-school provide some schooling to very young children (typically ages 3–5). University, vocational school, college or seminary may be available after secondary school. A school may be dedicated to one particular field, such as a school of economics or a school of dance. Alternative schools may provide nontraditional curriculum and methods.

There are also non-government schools, called private schools. Private schools may be required when the government does not supply adequate, or special education. Other private schools can also be religious, such as Christian schools, madrasa, hawzas (Shi'a schools), yeshivas (Jewish schools), and others; or schools that have a higher standard of education or seek to foster other personal achievements. Schools for adults include institutions of corporate training, military education and training and business schools.

In home schooling and online schools, teaching and learning take place outside a traditional school building. Schools are commonly organized in several different organizational models, including departmental, small learning communities, academies, integrated, and schools-within-a-school.


The word school derives from Greek σχολή(scholē), originally meaning "leisure" and also "that in which leisure is employed", but later "a group to whom lectures were given, school".[1][2][3]

History and development

Main article: History of education

The concept of grouping students together in a centralized location for learning has existed since Classical antiquity. Formal schools have existed at least since ancient Greece (see Academy), ancient Rome (see Education in Ancient Rome) ancient India (see Gurukul), and ancient China (see History of education in China). The Byzantine Empire had an established schooling system beginning at the primary level. According to Traditions and Encounters, the founding of the primary education system began in 425 AD and "... military personnel usually had at least a primary education ...". The sometimes efficient and often large government of the Empire meant that educated citizens were a must. Although Byzantium lost much of the grandeur of Roman culture and extravagance in the process of surviving, the Empire emphasized efficiency in its war manuals. The Byzantine education system continued until the empire's collapse in 1453 AD.[4]

In Western Europe a considerable number of cathedral schools were founded during the Early Middle Ages in order to teach future clergy and administrators, with the oldest still existing, and continuously operated, cathedral schools being The King's School, Canterbury (established 597 CE), King's School, Rochester (established 604 CE), St Peter's School, York (established 627 CE) and Thetford Grammar School (established 631 CE). Beginning in the 5th century CE monastic schools were also established throughout Western Europe, teaching both religious and secular subjects.

Islam was another culture that developed a school system in the modern sense of the word. Emphasis was put on knowledge, which required a systematic way of teaching and spreading knowledge, and purpose-built structures. At first, mosques combined both religious performance and learning activities, but by the 9th century, the madrassa was introduced, a school that was built independently from the mosque, such as al-Qarawiyyin, founded in 859 CE. They were also the first to make the Madrassa system a public domain under the control of the Caliph.

Under the Ottomans, the towns of Bursa and Edirne became the main centers of learning. The Ottoman system of Külliye, a building complex containing a mosque, a hospital, madrassa, and public kitchen and dining areas, revolutionized the education system, making learning accessible to a wider public through its free meals, health care and sometimes free accommodation.

In Europe, universities emerged during the 12th century; here, scholasticism was an important tool, and the academicians were called schoolmen. During the Middle Ages and much of the Early Modern period, the main purpose of schools (as opposed to universities) was to teach the Latin language. This led to the term grammar school, which in the United States informally refers to a primary school, but in the United Kingdom means a school that selects entrants based on ability or aptitude. Following this, the school curriculum has gradually broadened to include literacy in the vernacular language as well as technical, artistic, scientific and practical subjects.

Obligatory school attendance became common in parts of Europe during the 18th century. In Denmark-Norway, this was introduced as early as in 1739-1741, the primary end being to increase the literacy of the almue, i.e. the "regular people".[5] Many of the earlier public schools in the United States and elsewhere were one-room schools where a single teacher taught seven grades of boys and girls in the same classroom. Beginning in the 1920s, one-room schools were consolidated into multiple classroom facilities with transportation increasingly provided by kid hacks and school buses.

Regional terms

The use of the term school varies by country, as do the names of the various levels of education within the country.

United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations

In the United Kingdom, the term school refers primarily to pre-university institutions, and these can, for the most part, be divided into pre-schools or nursery schools, primary schools (sometimes further divided into infant school and junior school), and secondary schools. Various types of secondary schools in England and Wales include grammar schools, comprehensives, secondary moderns, and city academies. In Scotland, while they may have different names, all Secondary schools are the same, except in that they may be funded by the state, or independently funded (see next paragraph). It is unclear if "Academies", which are a hybrid between state and independently funded/controlled schools and have been introduced to England in recent years, will ever be introduced to Scotland. School performance in Scotland is monitored by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. Ofsted reports on performance in England and Estyn reports on performance in Wales.

In the United Kingdom, most schools are publicly funded and known as state schools or maintained schools in which tuition is provided free. There are also private schools or independent schools that charge fees. Some of the most selective and expensive private schools are known as public schools, a usage that can be confusing to speakers of North American English. In North American usage, a public school is one that is publicly funded or run.

In much of the Commonwealth of Nations, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania, the term school refers primarily to pre-university institutions.


In ancient India, schools were in the form of Gurukuls. Gurukuls were traditional Hindu residential schools of learning; typically the teacher's house or a monastery. During the Mughal rule, Madrasahs were introduced in India to educate the children of Muslim parents. British records show that indigenous education was widespread in the 18th century, with a school for every temple, mosque or village in most regions of the country. The subjects taught included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Theology, Law, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Medical Science and Religion.

Under the British rule in India, Christian missionaries from England, USA and other countries established missionary and boarding schools throughout the country. Later as these schools gained in popularity, more were started and some gained prestige. These schools marked the beginning of modern schooling in India and the syllabus and calendar they followed became the benchmark for schools in modern India. Today most of the schools follow the missionary school model in terms of tutoring, subject / syllabus, governance etc.with minor changes. Schools in India range from schools with large campuses with thousands of students and hefty fees to schools where children are taught under a tree with a small / no campus and are totally free of cost. There are various boards of schools in India, namely Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), Madrasa Boards of various states, Matriculation Boards of various states, State Boards of various boards, Anglo Indian Board, and so on. The typical syllabus today includes Language(s), Mathematics, Science — Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, General Knowledge, Information Technology / Computer Science etc.. Extra curricular activities include physical education / sports and cultural activities like music, choreography, painting, theater / drama etc.


In much of continental Europe, the term school usually applies to primary education, with primary schools that last between four and nine years, depending on the country. It also applies to secondary education, with secondary schools often divided between Gymnasiums and vocational schools, which again depending on country and type of school educate students for between three and six years. In Germany students graduating from Grundschule are not allowed to directly progress into a vocational school, but are supposed to proceed to one of Germany's general education schools such as Gesamtschule, Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. When they leave that school, which usually happens at age 15-19 they are allowed to proceed to a vocational school. The term school is rarely used for tertiary education, except for some upper or high schools (German: Hochschule), which describe colleges and universities.

In Eastern Europe modern schools (after World War II), of both primary and secondary educations, often are combined, while secondary education might be split into accomplished or not. The schools are classified as middle schools of general education and for the technical purposes include "degrees" of the education they provide out of three available: the first — primary, the second — unaccomplished secondary, and the third — accomplished secondary. Usually the first two degrees of education (eight years) are always included, while the last one (two years) gives option for the students to pursue vocational or specialized educations.

North America and the United States

In North America, the term school can refer to any educational institution at any level, and covers all of the following: preschool (for toddlers), kindergarten, elementary school, middle school (also called intermediate school or junior high school, depending on specific age groups and geographic region), high school (or in some cases senior high school), college, university, and graduate school.

In the United States, school performance through high school is monitored by each state's department of education. Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools. The terms grammar school and grade school are sometimes used to refer to a primary school.

Ownership and operation

Many schools are owned or funded by states. Private schools operate independently from the government. Private schools usually rely on fees from families whose children attend the school for funding; however, sometimes such schools also receive government support (for example, through School vouchers). Many private schools are affiliated with a particular religion; these are known as parochial schools.

Starting a school

The Toronto District School Board is an example of a school board that allows parents to design and propose new schools.[6]

When designing a school, factors that need to be decided include:[7]

  • Goals: What is the purpose of education, and what is the school's role?
  • Governance: Who will make which decisions?
  • Parent involvement: In which ways are parents welcome at the school?
  • Student body: Will it be, for example, a neighbourhood school or a specialty school?
  • Student conduct: What behaviour is acceptable, and what happens when behaviour is inappropriate?
  • Curriculum: What will be the curriculum model, and who will decide on curricula?

Components of most schools

See also: Learning environment and Learning space

Schools are organized spaces purposed for teaching and learning. The classrooms, where teachers teach and students learn, are of central importance. Classrooms may be specialized for certain subjects, such as laboratory classrooms for science education and workshops for industrial arts education.

Typical schools have many other rooms and areas, which may include:

  • Cafeteria (Commons), dining hall or canteen where students eat lunch and often breakfast and snacks.
  • Athletic field, playground, gym, and/or track place where students participating in sports or physical education practice
  • School yards, that is, all-purpose playfields typically in elementary schools, often made of concrete, although some are being transformed into environmentally friendly teaching gardens by landscape artists such as Sharon Gamson Danks.[8][9]
  • Auditorium or hall where student theatrical and musical productions can be staged and where all-school events such as assemblies are held
  • Office where the administrative work of the school is done
  • Library where students ask librarians reference questions, check out books and magazines, and often use computers
  • Computer labs where computer-based work is done and the internet accessed


Main Article: School security

The safety of staff and students is increasingly becoming an issue for school communities, an issue most schools are addressing through improved security. Some have also taken measures such as installing metal detectors or video surveillance. Others have even taken measures such as having the children swipe identification cards as they board the school bus. For some schools, these plans have included the use of door numbering to aid public safety response.[clarification needed]

Other security concerns faced by schools include bomb threats, gangs, vandalism,[10] and bullying.[11]

Health services

Main article: School health services

School health services are services from medical, teaching and other professionals applied in or out of school to improve the health and well-being of children and in some cases whole families. These services have been developed in different ways around the globe but the fundamentals are constant: the early detection, correction, prevention or amelioration of disease, disability and abuse from which school-aged children can suffer.

Online schools and classes

Main article: Virtual school

Some schools offer remote access to their classes over the Internet. Online schools also can provide support to traditional schools, as in the case of the School Net Namibia. Some online classes also provide experience in a class, so that when people take them, they have already been introduced to the subject and know what to expect, and even more classes provide High School/College credit allowing people to take the classes at their own pace. Many online classes cost money to take but some are offered free.

Internet-based distance learning programs are offered widely through many universities. Instructors teach through online activities and assignments. Online classes are taught the same as physically being in class with the same curriculum. The instructor offers the syllabus with their fixed requirements like any other class. Students can virtually turn their assignments in to their instructors according to deadlines. This being through via email or in the course webpage. This allowing students to work at their own pace, yet meeting the correct deadline. Students taking an online class have more flexibility in their schedules to take their classes at a time that works best for them. Conflicts with taking an online class may include not being face to face with the instructor when learning or being in an environment with other students. Online classes can also make understanding the content difficult, especially when not able to get in quick contact with the instructor. Online students do have the advantage of using other online sources with assignments or exams for that specific class. Online classes also have the advantage of students not needing to leave their house for a morning class or worrying about their attendance for that class. Students can work at their own pace to learn and achieve within that curriculum.[12]

The convenience of learning at home has been a major attractive point for enrolling online. Students can attend class anywhere a computer can go—at home, a library or while traveling internationally. Online school classes are designed to fit your needs, while allowing you to continue working and tending to your other obligations.[13] Online school education is divided into three subcategories: Online Elementary School, Online Middle School, Online High school.


As a profession, teaching has levels of work-related stress (WRS)[14] that are among the highest of any profession in some countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States.[15] The degree of this problem is becoming increasingly recognized and support systems are being put into place.[16][17]Teacher education increasingly recognizes the need to train those new to the profession to be aware of and overcome mental health challenges they may face.[citation needed]

Stress sometimes affects students more severely than teachers, up to the point where the students are prescribed stress medication. This stress is claimed to be related to standardized testing, and the pressure on students to score above average.[18][19]See Cram school.

According to a 2008 mental health study by the Associated Press and mtvU,[citation needed] eight in 10 college students[where?] said they had sometimes or frequently experienced stress in their daily lives. This was an increase of 20% from a survey five years previously. 34 percent had felt depressed at some point in the past three months, 13 percent had been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as an anxiety disorder or depression, and 9 percent had seriously considered suicide.[citation needed]

Discipline towards students

Main article: School discipline

Schools and their teachers have always been under pressure — for instance, pressure to cover the curriculum, to perform well in comparison to other schools, and to avoid the stigma of being "soft" or "spoiling" toward students. Forms of discipline, such as control over when students may speak, and normalized behaviour, such as raising a hand to speak, are imposed in the name of greater efficiency. Practitioners of critical pedagogy maintain that such disciplinary measures have no positive effect on student learning. Indeed, some argue that disciplinary practices detract from learning, saying that they undermine students' individual dignity and sense of self-worth—the latter occupying a more primary role in students' hierarchy of needs.

See also


  1. ^Online Etymology Dictionary; H.G. Liddell & R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
  2. ^School, on Oxford Dictionaries
  3. ^σχολή, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^Bentley, Jerry H. (2006). Traditions & Encounters a Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw-Hil. p. 331. 
  5. ^"Leseferdighet og skolevesen 1740– 1830"(PDF). Open Digital Archive. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  6. ^Winsa, Patti (16 November 2012). "Skateboard academy, dude? Alternative schools gathering considers four new concepts". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  7. ^Great Atlantic and Pacific School Conspiracy (Group) (1972). Doing your own school: a practical guide to starting and operating a community school. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-3172-8. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  8. ^13 October 2010, Amanda Marrazzo, Chicago Tribune, Nature's classroom: Eco-friendly schoolyards a space for teaching everything from poetry to nutrition, Accessed 16 June 2014, "...schoolyards are perfect settings for composting, learning about insects...."
  9. ^9 March 2011, School Garden Weekly, Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, Accessed 16 June 2014, "..Danks takes readers on a tour of successful green schoolyards..."
  10. ^"School Vandalism Takes Its Toll". Wrensolutions.com. Archived from the original on 6 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  11. ^"Bulling, Anti-bullying Legislation, and School Safety". Schoolsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  12. ^Laird, Ellen. "I'm Your Teacher, Not Your Internet-Service Provider." Chronicle of Higher Education n.d.: n. pag. Print
  13. ^"Online Education Offers Access and Affordability". Usnews.com. Retrieved 2015-05-17. 
  14. ^"Work-Related Stress in teaching". Wrsrecovery.com. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  15. ^"Teacher Stress, Burnout and NCLB: The U.S. Educational Ecosystem and the Adaptation of Teachers"(PDF). Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  16. ^"Teacher Support for England & Wales". Teachersupport.info. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  17. ^"Teacher Support for Scotland". Teachersupport.info. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  18. ^"Survey confirms student stress, but next step is unclear (May 06, 2005)". Paloaltoonline.com. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  19. ^"Children & School Anxiety, Stress Management". Webmd.com. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 

Further reading

  • Dodge, B. (1962). ‘Muslim Education in the Medieval Times’, The Middle East Institute, Washington D.C.
  • Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools, edited by Kenneth J. Saltman and David A. Gabbard, RoutledgeFalmer 2003. Review.
  • Makdisi, G. (1980). ‘On the origin and development of the college in Islam and the West’, in Islam and the Medieval West, ed. Khalil I. Semaan, State University of New York Press.
  • Nakosteen, M. (1964). ‘History of Islamic origins of Western Education AD 800-1350’, University of Colorado Press, Boulder.
  • Ribera, J. (1928). ‘Disertaciones Y Opusculos’, 2 vols., Madrid.
  • Spielhofer, Thomas, Tom Benton, Sandie Schagen. "A study of the effects of school size and single-sex education in English schools." Research Papers in Education, June 2004:133 159, 27.
  • Toppo, Greg. "High-tech school security is on the rise." USA Today, 9 October 2006.
  • Traditions and Encounters, by Jerry H. Bentley and Herb F. Ziegler.
School building and recreation area in England
Chilean schoolchildren in school uniform during a class photograph, 2002
A school building in Kannur, India
Primary school students with their teacher, Colombia, 2014
A school entrance building in Australia
To curtail violence, some schools have added CCTVsurveillance cameras. This is especially common in schools with excessive gang activity or violence.

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