After-School Programs

"The revolution begins at 3 p.m."

Responding to the reality that children K–12 spend 80 percent of their time outside the traditional classroom, educators, researchers, policy makers, and parents agree that structured after-school activities cultivating learning, creativity, interaction, and fitness lead to more motivated, engaged students and social, productive adults.

But where do you find these programs? And how do you know if they are good ones? WGBH’s Eye on Education has done the homework for you, providing a practical toolkit of out-of-school time programs, activities, and events – organized by local, regional, and national resources.

Boston | Greater Boston | Massachusetts | New England | National


Achieve Boston – This site offers collaborative support for after-school and youth workers looking to build professional skills.

After-School for All – A collection of after-school resources for parents.

Boston After School & Beyond – Kids only spend 20 percent of their time in school. Find resources for getting Boston teens involved in positive activities during the 80 percent of time they spend outside of school.

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) – The BCYF is a consolidation of Boston Community Centers, the Mayor's Office of Community Partnerships, the Boston 2:00 to 6:00 After-School Initiative, and the Recreation Division of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. The BCYF site provides program information about the 44 centers throughout Boston, searchable by facility, neighborhood, and program. It includes an online events calendar, listing up-to-the-minute information about scheduled City of Boston events.

2003-2004 Boston Guide To Youth Services – The BCYF publishes a yearly index of recreation/leisure, fitness, summer, Parks Department, human services, and youth programs, as well as uniquely Boston scheduled events for 2003-2004. Call 617-635-4920 x 2130 to request a free copy. TTY Available.

FAQ – Be sure to read the FAQ page about BCYF. It details the most common questions parents may have about the after-school programs provided by the BCYF.

Parents Guide - Also find what to look for in school-age programming in an informative guide.

Boston Youth Zone – This City of Boston sponsored site with a teen-friendly look and feel provides a searchable database of nearly 3,000 after-school programs for middle and high school BPS students, as well as an events calendar. Maintained by Boston teens, the Youth Zone also provides students and parents online and real-time answers to questions about individual programs. You may visit the site or call a YOUTHLINE listener weekdays Noon–8:00 at 617-635-2240.

Parents United for Child Care (PUCC) – PUCC champions child care resources in Boston communities for modest income, working families. It publishes the free 2003-2004 Guide to Boston’s Before and After School Programs, in English and Spanish. The guide is available online as a searchable database of approximately 300 after-school programs – primarily for children aged six through preteen.

Office of Child Care Services (OCCS) – Once you find a program, you may want check the Provider Search database of the OCCS for a list of all licensed Massachusetts day care, searchable by type of care and location.

FAQ – Be sure to read the Child Care FAQ page. It details the most common questions parents may have about programs for young children and describes the logistics of arranging child care.

Printable Checklist – Also find what to look for in school age/child care programming in a helpful checklist.

Go City Kids – Offers parents a guide to family-friendly activities in over a dozen cities nationwide. The Boston database includes more than 800 attractions as well as a daily events calendar. The service costs ten dollars per year. Members receive a weekly newsletter tailored to each local parenting community.

Arts/Culture – Discover the wealth of programs, activities, and events that teach and inspire Boston’s diverse young population about the arts and culture. This link offers a searchable database, events calendars, and comprehensive contact information for Boston theaters and museums.

Athletics/Outdoor Activities – Find out what public, private, and non-profit organized athletics programs are available to keep Boston youth fit. This link offers a searchable database of athletic programs, a complete list of Greater Boston YMCAs, and a collection of inexpensive, out-of-the-ordinary outdoor activities.

Boston Public Schools (BPS) – The BPS and BPS Office of Communications publish three annual guides to help acquaint students and parents with school and out-of-school learning opportunities. While none is a searchable database, many of the summer program listings have mechanisms for applying online. And, although summer 2003 is over, the Summer Stuff publications are worth browsing for annual programs with early application deadlines. Summer Stuff 2004 is expected out in February.

Boston Public Schools 2005 – A general introduction to the BPS. Free, printed versions are available in English, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, or Vietnamese from any BPS Family Resource Center.

East Zone Family Resource Center 617-635-9660
North Zone Family Resource Center 617-635-9010
West Zone Family Resource Center 617-635-8040

Other Out-of-School-Time Resources – From libraries, to public transportation, to medical assistance, to advocacy, a list of important phone contacts for Boston community residents with school age children

Greater Boston

Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston – A comprehensive list of Boston area Catholic Schools with active links to individual school websites. Organized by counties. Contact individual schools for information about a variety of after-school programs.

Open Directory Project (ODP) – A comprehensive edited Web directory compiled by community volunteer editors offering a starting place to track possible after-school programs in the following Greater Boston communities:

Arlington Dedham Nahant Stoneham
Bedford Dover Needham Swampscott
Belmont Everett Newton Wakefield
Boston Lexington Norwood Waltham
Braintree Lincoln Peabody Watertown
Brookline Lynn Quincy Wellesley
Burlington Lynnfield Reading Weston
Cambridge Malden Revere Westwood
Canton Marblehead Salem Winchester
Chelsea Medford Saugus Winthrop
Concord Melrose Somerville Woburn
Danvers Milton    

State of Massachusetts

Commonwealth Communities – Offers information on the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Each community page, listed alphabetically or by county, has links to information provided by state agencies, including public school and community profiles, state legislators, regional offices for a variety of state agencies, and more. It also has links to official city/town and public school websites, and other civically oriented community sites.

New England

The Association of Independent Schools (AISNE) – Provides a list of over 160 private schools in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – many that have sister programs with public schools in a common community, as well as a variety of after-school and summer camp programs.


Promising Practices in Afterschool (PPAS) – An online community with an active, open listserv – a by subscription e-mail group – for after-school practitioners, educators, researchers, intermediaries, policymakers, and parents. This site provides an A-to-Z of valuable links to many after-school program activities. It also has substantive information on curriculum resources, legislative updates, available listservs and electronic newsletters, and current research and evaluation related to after-school initiatives.

Go City Kids – Offers parents a guide to family-friendly activities in over a dozen cities nationwide.