Education continues after school

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

Rick Couch/Demopolis Times Writer

Of the 24 hours in a day there are two that are especially dangerous to our children. The period from 3 p.m. (when students get out of school) to 5 p.m. (when most parents get off work) can have an enormous impact on the development of a child.

Where young people spend this period of time can be the kicker. If they spend it in an unproductive environment they have time to develop bad habits. If they are encouraged to better themselves good things always seem to happen.

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Spending a few hours with video games and television will not make or break the future of a student. Developing a habit of picking up a video game controller or remote control and setting the books aside could. The point is, there are several programs out there to help students make the most of the time they spend waiting for their parents to get off work.

There are several in the area for many different ages and they fall into all categories from academic to athletic. No matter what their purpose is they all provide a positive place for children to learn about life and grow as human beings.

One program in particular sets a great example of what children need. The DMS (Determined Students Succeed) program at Demopolis Middle School paints a wonderful profile of what children should be doing with their down time. The program brings in teachers from other schools for all subjects and gives students a chance to make progress in areas they may struggle. It combines a learning experience with play. Students learn through the program because they are having fun. They don’t even realize they are making progress.

I am sure there are many other programs in place around the city that use the same practices for the same purpose. These programs are a great opportunity for a small town student. It is hard to stress to a student just how important it is for them to absorb as much knowledge as they can while they are young. Their brains simply aren’t geared toward it. Programs like these make learning fun and accomplish the goal in a manner that both parents and their children can appreciate.

Naturally, a child does need time to be a kid. Playing is where they develop most of their social traits and learn how to treat others. That is what makes these programs even better. They offer plenty of time to socialize and goof off like all young people do.

There are a lot more working parents than there once were and they are working longer hours. The demands from the daily grind hit us all at one point or another. Parents try to spend as much time as they can with their children, but they can’t be there all the time.

When parents do have to work and the schools are no longer open it can be very comforting to know kids are in a positive place. It provides peace of mind and security. Most of all it gives children a chance to surpass their potential.

If you have not had an opportunity to check out some of the programs around town drop in some time. I am confident you will be extremely impressed with what you see.

My visit to DMS was incredibly eye opening and encouraging.