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Metro Vancouver Parents Reaping Benefits from Out-of-School Programs
Parents say their kids are learning something new, becoming more sociable and improving their school performance.

Vancouver, BC – Parents of children aged 6 to 12 report benefits from enrolling their kids in out-of-school-time programs, a new poll by Insights West conducted in partnership with the United Way of the Lower Mainland has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of parents in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, 93% say out-of-school programs have allowed their children to learn something they would not have learned in school, and 82% report that their kids are more sociable as a result of attending out-of-school programs.

In addition, 79% of parents say out-of-school programs have benefitted their child’s performance in school and 54% welcome their child having a chance to participate in safe and constructive activities while they are still at work.


“Here in B.C., in two thirds of families with two parents and kids, both parents are working and it’s about the same for single parent families,” says Kim Winchell, Director of Community Impact & Investment, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “United Way invests $5.1 million into after-school programs because they provide safe places for kids where they can develop emotionally, socially and academically.”

Across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, 88% of parents of children aged 6 to 12 currently have a child enrolled in out-of-school programs.

When it comes to deciding which programs are best suited for their kids aged 6 to 12, 57% of parents say they decide along with their spouse and the child.

At this point, the most popular out-of-school programs in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are related to sports (86%), music (39%), homework and academics (21%) and art (20%).

When parents are asked about which out-of-school-time activities they and/or their child would prefer to be enrolled in, but aren’t currently, a third (32%) mention computer skills or programming.

“There is a bit of a disconnect in what kids are doing and what they and their parents would like to do,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “While sports activities are heavily favoured by parents and kids, a third want their children to become more computer literate.”

A sizeable majority of parents (91%) are satisfied with their child’s out-of-school programs, as well as specific aspects such as parental involvement (81%), choices in programs (80%), availability of programs (79%), schedules (78%) and communication about their child’s performance and achievements (76%).

Parents of children aged 6 to 12 who do not have kids enrolled in out-of-school programs cite cost (66%) as the main hindrance, along with facing difficulties transporting their child home from programs (42%) or to programs (35%).

About United Way of the Lower Mainland:

United Way has been changing people’s lives for the better since 1930! We help kids grow up great, help families feel a sense of belonging and make sure our neighbourhoods are safe and supportive places for everyone. Across Metro Vancouver and from the Sea to Sky corridor to the Sunshine Coast and Abbottsford and beyond, we help make our community better.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 18 to September 22, 2017, among 402 parents of children aged 6 to 12 who reside in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Young
Media Relations, United Way of the Lower Mainland

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West