Education and Professional Development

Key to the development of the Centre is the ‘whole person’ approach to child development. Players should be able to come to the Centre direct from school, spend an hour with a qualified teacher – doing homework, taking extra lessons, etc. The Centre, in conjunction with the school, should be able to assess and address the academic needs of each student.


One of the principal goals of The Centre is to appoint an individual who is able to liaise with schools and parents and construct academic programmes that fulfil the need of every young person involved in the programmes. The Education Officer shall be capable of providing all students with:
• A Homework Club
• After School Education Programmes
• Assistance with Computers (IT)
• Assistance in Developing Study Skills
• A full Mentoring Programme
• Careers Guidance
• College Placement and Scholarship Information
The Education Officer is ultimately responsible for all educational and professional components of the Centre. This includes coordinating all after school educational programmes, liaising with schools, parents, teachers, volunteers, colleges, potential employers, etc.



The Need for After-School Programs

Today, the majority of school-age children live with a parent or parents who work outside the home. Most of these so called ‘latch-key children’ return to an empty home after school. When the school bell rings, the anxiety for parents often just begins. They worry about whether their children are safe, whether they are susceptible to drugs and crime.

In response to this pressing concern, very little is done to keep children and youth out of trouble and engaged in activities that help them learn. Although most would agree that it is important for children to have an after-school programme that helps them develop academic and social skills in a safe and caring environment, the infrastructure is not in place to facilitate this demand.

A chronic shortage of quality after-school programs exists. According to parents, the need far exceeds the current supply and the demand is definitely there.
After-school programs provide a wide array of benefits to children, their families, schools, and the whole community. This report, with statistical information* provided by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, focuses exclusively on the benefits children receive in terms of increased safety, personal and social development and improved learning.

* Obviously, US figures cannot be directly applied to The Bahamas. However, local figures are not available so these must suffice

Helping Children to Succeed

First and foremost, after-school programmes keep children of all ages safe and out of trouble. The after-school hours are the time when juvenile crime hits its peak. But through attentive adult supervision, quality after-school programmes, both athletic and academic can protect our children. As this report shows, in communities with comprehensive programmes, children are less likely to commit crimes or to be victimized, and are less likely to engage in risky behavior such as drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

After-school programmes also can help to improve the academic performance of participating children. For many children, their reading and mathematical scores will improve, in large part because after-school programmes allow them to focus attention on areas in which they are having difficulties. Many programmes connect learning to more relaxed and enriching activities, thereby improving academic performance as well.

After-school programmes also contribute to raising children's self-confidence as well as academic performance. Children who participate in after-school programmes develop better social skills and learn to handle conflicts in more socially acceptable ways. Children tend to have higher aspirations for their future, including greater intentions to complete high school and attend college.

Participants in such programmes will be safer and more successful in school. If properly managed, the participants’ families will also develop a greater interest in their child's learning. In addition, children will develop new interests and skills and improve their school attendance.

The Potential of After School Programmes

Keeping Children away from Crime

The value of Sports in combating crime has been discussed in the ‘Philosophy’ document. Here, we shall concentrate on the value of educational programmes.
Preventing Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, and Violent Victimisation

The rate for juvenile crime peaks in the after-school hours. About 10 percent of violent juvenile crimes are committed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Children are also at a much greater risk of being the victim of a violent crime (murder, a violent sex offense, robbery, or assault) after the school day, roughly 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

By offering children rewarding, challenging, and age-appropriate activities in safe, structured and positive environments, after-school programmes help to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency and insulate children from violent victimisation.

Preventing Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Use

‘Latchkey’ children are at a substantially higher risk for risk-taking behavior, including substance abuse. Youth ages 10-16 who have a relationship with a mentor, an important component of a quality after-school programme, are 46 percent less likely to start using drugs and 27 percent less likely to start drinking alcohol (American Statistic).

After-school programmes can provide youth with positive and healthy alternatives to drug, alcohol and tobacco use, criminal activity, and other high-risk behaviors during the peak crime hours after school.

Decreasing the Amount of Television Watched

The most common activity for children after school is watching television. After school and in the evenings, children watch, on average, about 23 hours per week of television. Quality after-school programmes offer children and youth enjoyable alternatives to television watching during the after-school hours in environments filled with opportunities to learn and grow.

Improving Academic Achievement

Raising Children’s Grades and Academic Achievement

Young people attending formal after-school programmes often spend more time in academic activities and in enrichment lessons than do their peers left unsupervised after school. Children whose out-of-school time includes 20+ hours of constructive learning and sporting activities do better in school.
It goes without saying that students in after school programmes show better achievement in mathematics, reading, and other subjects.

Increasing Children’s Interest and Ability in Reading

Quality after school curricula expose children to an environment rich in language and print. Quality, research-based tutoring programmes also produce improvements in reading achievement. The academic programme that we propose is based around logic & critical thinking, IT, basic mathematics, literacy and study skills. These essential areas are often overlooked in regular schools and are essentially ignored after primary school. A curriculum shall be set to suit each child’s individual level of competence.
Tutoring can also lead to greater self-confidence in reading, increased motivation to read, and improved behavior.

Improving School Attendance, Increasing Engagement in School, and Reducing the Dropout Rate

After school programmes can help children develop greater confidence in their academic abilities and a greater interest in school, both of which have been shown to lead to improved school attendance and completion rates. Students who spent even one to four hours a week in extracurricular activities were 60 percent less likely to have dropped out of school by 12th grade than their peers who did not participate (American Statistic).

Increasing Homework Quality

The structure of an after school programme can make homework part of students’ daily routine. This can contribute to children in after school programmes completing more and better-prepared homework because of their participation. Each child will be allocated an hour and a half each day to concentrate on academics in a structured, professionally supervised environment. Students who have no homework, or who complete it early, will be given assignments from their own individual curriculum.

Increasing Aspirations for the Future

By giving children role models and the tools they need to succeed in school, after-school programmes can help children realize their full potential.

Children’s Social Development and Their Relationships with Adults and Peers

Improved Behavior in School

Children who participate in after school programmes behave better in class, handle conflict more effectively, and cooperate more with authority figures and with their peers.

Better Social Skills

The after school environment allows children to interact socially in a more relaxed atmosphere. It is reasonable to suggest that children with the opportunity to make social connections in after school hours are better adjusted and happier than those who do not have this opportunity.

Improved Self-Confidence

Youth organisations in the US and UK have indicated that the single most important factor in the success of their programmes is the relationship between participants and the adults who work with them. Programmes can provide the opportunity for youth to gain self-confidence through development of caring relationships with adults and peers.Strengthening Schools, Families and The Community

More Effective Use of Funding

After-school programmes can help the Ministry of Education save money over the long term because of decreased student retention and special education placements. Where there is a decrease in juvenile crime due to a programme, the police also save resources.

Greater Family and Community Involvement

It is an essential component of The Complex’s after school programmes that parents and volunteers are available to support the professional teachers. Many of the activities can operate equally effectively with non-professional supervision. It can also be expected that when family and community members make an investment in an after school programme, they will be more interested and involved in their own children’s learning, in the learning of all children in the programme, and in the life of the Complex as a whole.

What Works: Components of Competent After School Programmes

Quality after school programmes can provide safe, engaging environments that motivate and inspire learning outside the regular school day. While there is no one single formula for success in after school programmes, the most effective programmes will combine academic growth with recreational activities to guide learning and engage children and youth in wholesome activities.

Common elements of quality programmes include:

Goal Setting, Strong Management and Consistency
Community coordination and collaboration are key to running successful programmes.

Focus on the goals of the programme.
After-school programmes should be clear about their intended goals. Establish goals through collaborative decision-making. Manage the programme to meet those goals.

Solid organisational structure.
A successful governance structure combines hands-on, site-based management with regular oversight and accountability.

Effective management and consistency.
Successful programmes use annual operating budgets, accurate bookkeeping systems, affordable fee structures, reliable funding sources, and a strong volunteer base.

Quality After-School Staff

All programmmes run by the Complex, be they academic or sporting need staff who are qualified and committed, have appropriate experience and realistic expectations, and can interact productively with each other.

Role of the Education Officer.
To ensure that the after-school programme provides high-quality services that meet the needs of programme staff, students and families. An effective administrator will develop strong relationships with schools, families and the community as a whole.

Employing and retaining qualified staff.
The complex should hire skilled and qualified staff that are experienced in working with school-age children. Programmes should also provide attractive compensation and work scheduling packages to retain quality staff.

Use of volunteers.
Volunteers can reduce the price of a programme and the staff-to-child ratio. The programme will incorporate volunteers into programmes appropriate to their skill levels and interests.

Low staff-to-student ratio.
For true student enrichment, the staff-to-student ratio should be between 1:10 and 1:15 for groups of children age six and older.

Attention to Safety, Health and Nutrition Issues

Creating safe places with adequate space and materials.

Programmes should be safe, close to home and accessible to all who want to participate. They should have adequate space for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities and age-appropriate materials for enhancing learning.

Meeting nutritional needs.
The Complex shall provide a nutritious snack and other meals to promote sound nutrition for participants.

Effective Partnerships

Implementing a quality after-school programme requires collaboration among diverse partners: parents, teachers, coaches, clubs, schools, COB, community residents, the police, the government, volunteers, etc.

Strong Involvement of Families

The success of an after-school programme depends on the involvement of both families and the community.

Involving families and youth in programme planning.
Programmes that include families and children in planning draw greater support from participants, families and the community at large. Activities are more fun and culturally relevant, and capture children and adolescents’ interests better.

Attending to the needs of working parents.

Our programmes are designed with sensitivity to the schedules and requirements of working parents. They also need to accommodate family schedules, making after school programmes affordable, and where possible provide transportation to and from after school programmes.

Enriching Learning Opportunities

By providing structured enriching learning opportunities, after-school programmes can improve children’s academic performance and meet their social, emotional and physical development needs. In addition, enrichment opportunities not available during the regular school day—such as art, music, and drama—should be phased in to complement the sporting and academic programmes.

Coordinating learning with the regular school day.
Our programmes are designed to provide a continuity of learning for students through coordination with the regular school day and communication with teachers and staff.

Evaluation of Programme Progress and Effectiveness

All of our programmes are designed to be constantly updates and evaluated, so that teachers can objectively gauge their success based on the clear goals set for the programme.

Using data for improvement.
A system of accountability and continuous evaluation supports programme improvement. With this data, partners can discuss the progress and success of the programme, which will help in decision-making around design and funding.
Continuous monitoring and shared understanding of programme goals help staff maintain their focus, improve effectiveness and accountability, ensure parent and participant satisfaction, and identify necessary changes.

College Placement

Several Bahamians have achieved academic and sporting scholarships to various colleges in the USA and elsewhere. However, it is sincerely felt that thousands more have slipped away through lack of knowledge, commitment, etc.
As the ‘After School Programmes’ develop, it is to be assumed that many of the participants should be competent to achieve college scholarships. Once we have ensured that they are suitable prospects academically, the Education Officer should, having fostered relationships with various colleges, pursue the best possible avenues for the player’s further education.

Courting Colleges

As discussed in the ‘Sports Tourism’ section of The Sports Club document, there are a huge number of schools and colleges in North America that would be grateful for the opportunity to send sports teams to the Bahamas, both to train and participate in competition. It is to be expected that the facilities offered are of the highest standard and that we shall gain a reputation abroad for competence and efficiency.

There are already several colleges in The US who have strong relationships with certain schools, clubs and coaches, particularly in Grand Bahama. These need to be strengthened, even centralised and others fostered in order to maximise their potential. The Centre could, eventually, serve as a sort of ‘clearing house’ for talented athletes and students, whereby a college contacts the centre and asks for appropriate candidates.

Given the huge number of colleges available, it should be mandated that the Education Officer finds college placement for all appropriate candidates and that no student who is properly qualified should be unable to attend college for purely financial reasons.

Careers Advice

A potential employer should, based on our reputation for integrity, be able with confidence to approach the Complex for references and recommendations for any member.

It would not be realistic to assume that all participants in the after school programmes will go on to college. Those who will not should not be allowed to fall through the cracks. Here again, the Education Officer should make it her/his business to ensure that every member who passes through the Complex is given a full character evaluation and directed towards the field to which s/he is best suited. Obviously, there will be exceptions and not everyone will require assistance, but this is an important aspect of our task.

“We are not attempting to create great athletes, rather, great citizens”

To a certain extent, one of the functions of the Complex will be to become a kind of employment exchange. Potential employers contact the centre and suitable candidates are directed towards them. This should be one of the long-term goals.

The Haitian Situation

The Haitian population in Nassau is massive and largely ignored, both socially and economically. This will become a more pronounced problem with time and is something that the centre can also address in the following ways:
• By providing evening classes for children and adults in ‘English as a Foreign Language’ (EFL).
• By correct application of the Complex’s equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies in all fields, both academic and sporting.
• By encouraging Haitian soccer teams (there are 18 in New Providence) to utilise the facilities. The support base that these teams command is of tremendous potential economic benefit.
• By establishing educational courses that are geared specifically towards the unique problems faced by Haitian children