Many schools in New York City offer after-school programs that occupy children in structured activities while their parents are at work. Most after school programs in New York City charge a fee but there are also nearly 500 high quality programs that are offered for free. A listing of these varied free after school programs is available on the department of education’s website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dycd/html/afterschool/programs.shtml)

While some after school activities are conducted by schools (most private or independent schools offer after-school programs as well as summer camps during the annual school holidays) other after school programs are offered by community organizations like parks and museums.

Some of the popular after-school programs in New York City include:

The Beacon Program(http://www.nyc.gov/html/dycd/html/afterschool/beacon_program.shtml)

The Beacon program runs school-based activities that serve children, youth, and adults. There are currently 80 Beacons located throughout New York City that operate in the afternoons and evenings, on weekends, during school holidays and vacation periods, and during the summer. These programs consist of literacy activities including ESL programs, tutoring and college preparation, math clubs, sports and photography courses.

The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy (http://www.bpcparks.org/)

The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy offers a wide variety of free after school programs which are suitable for all ages. These programs feature music, dancing and storytelling, fishing days, bird watching and garden tours, art for all ages and various sporting activities.

The YMCA network of New York (http://www.ymcanyc.org/)

YMCA’s are located in every borough of New York City and they offer after-school programs which are conducted between 3pm and 6pm on every weekday. These YMCA after-school programs feature homework help and sports activities and are available at 140 sites in New York City typically at elementary and middle schools. While some of these programs are free others charge a nominal fee.

The Parks Department After-School ‘Learn to Swim Program’ and Others (http://www.nycgovparks.org/)

The city’s Parks Department conducts after-school ‘Learn to Swim Program’ at various pools located all over the city. These programs are conducted on every week day and require registration. Apart from the swimming program the Parks Department also holds a variety of other after-school programs that include arts, fitness, athletics, cultural activities and homework help. The after-school programs conducted by the Parks Department of New York City are free of charge. You can get more information about these programs by calling 212 360 3333. These after-school programs are typically offered from 3 pm to 6pm from Monday to Friday during the school year which lasts from September to March.

The American Museum of Natural History After-School Program

The museum offers nearly 25 after-school courses for students who are in grades 9-12. These courses cover a wide range of subjects like space, DNA, the evolution of dinosaurs and the study of world cultures. These courses usually last for 6 weeks and are conducted between 4.30pm and 6.30pm and are chargeable.

A whole host of organizations including the Museum of Modern Art, the 14th street Y and the Bronx River Art Center offer after-school programs in New York City while some organizations charge for these programs many offer them for free. Apart from after-school programs schools and community organizations also conduct summer camps which feature a variety of sports and recreation, art and crafts, fitness, field trips and more. For more information and a listing of some these summer camps in New York City do visit what is largely considered to be a bible for a mom in New York City – ( http://www.mommypoppins.com).

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