After-school programs should strike a happy medium between leisure and learning. Ideally, they'll offer a variety of activities, without being merely an extension of the school day.
By at least fourth grade, most schools offer some form of computer use. In private schools, this may happen earlier. To some degree, the amount of training may depend on the funds available for equipment.
|English as a second language
For millions of students, English is not the primary language. This poses special challenges for the teacher of a multi-lingual classroom. Preferably, he or she will have special training in ESL, or English as a second language.
In elementary school, children are still learning the basics of proper English, so there's usually not much formal study of foreign languages. Typically, children are introduced to a few foreign words, as they arise in the context of other subjects.
|Math and science
In the primary grades, first through third, math is often worked in with other subjects. For example, while studying dinosaurs, children may measure out its actual length on the schoolroom floor.
|Music and art
During the earliest grades, music and art are usually covered by the classroom teacher, rather than being taught as separate subjects. Often, they're integrated with other studies: children may draw things they're learning about in history or science.
Physical education programs should be designed to fit the needs and capabilities of children, at each different stage in their development. At the same time, they may be somewhat dependent on the facilities available.
|Reading and writing
In grades one through three, children are taught the basics of reading and writing. Most schools use a 'basal' program, with a series of readers, workbooks, and activity sheets.
|Social studies and history
Social studies curriculum can vary widely, from one school to the next. Typically, the early years may cover little more than studying the meaning behind holidays like Thanksgiving, Lincoln's birthday, and Martin Luther King Day.