United Way of the Lower Mainland

United Way of the Lower Mainland

May 17, 2006 12:00 ET

Media Advisory: United Way/UBC Research Findings Shine Light on Out-of-School Time for Children

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 17, 2006) -

Attention: News/City Editors

They're immersed in a multi-tasking digital world of their own and they don't talk to adults much.

Research, funded by United Way and led by a UBC associate professor and expert on children age 6 to 12, is providing a first clear look at the after-school lives of Canadian children. Children age 6 to 12 spend on average 67 hours a week in unstructured activity - it's more time than they spend in school.

Approximately 1,800 children in grades 5 to 7, helped to inform groundbreaking research findings that are providing for the first time in Canada, a collective look at what children are doing after school; where they are; who they're with, and what they want to be doing.

Preliminary findings for a study to be release later this year, titled "What Do Kids Do When They Are Not In School? The Experiences of Children in Canada During Out-of-School Time", are providing answers to these questions and more. Children, as well as parents and teachers from throughout the Lower Mainland region of B.C. participated. Children kept daily diaries for the study. The data was collected between February and May of this year.

The research will provide a foundation for policy, investments and meaningful programs for children 6 to 12. Some of the preliminary findings based on responses by children in grades 5 to 7:

- 8 per cent attended an after-school daycare program

- 13 per cent were involved in school sports team practice or games.

- 40 per cent played sports for fun after school

- 76 per cent watched TV (10 per cent for more than two hours) at home

- 38 per cent played online computer games (majority for up to an hour) at home

- 33 per cent played video or computer games at home

- 41 per cent instant messaging (53 per cent 30 minutes to two hours) at home

- 21 per cent emailing (majority less that 30 minutes) at home

- 21 per cent homework related activities at home

- 39 per cent browse the internet (majority less than 30 minutes) at home

- 51 per cent listened to music (less than 30 minutes) at home

- 19 per cent practiced a musical instrument

- 34 per cent did chores (less that 30 minutes)

- 15 per cent slept for an hour at home

- 22 per cent had a face-to-face conversation with parents or an adult relative

- 79 per cent ate

- 32 per cent talked on the phone

- 6 per cent went to the mall

- 38 per cent were with friends for an hour to more than two hours

- 3 per cent did volunteer work

- 28 per cent read for fun (up to an hour)

- 10 per cent played board games or cards

- 3 per cent had a story or book read to them

- 10 per cent worked on arts and crafts

The preliminary findings reveal the following top wishes by children who participated in the study:

- 67 per cent would like to be involved in physical activity

- 12 per cent would like to be hanging out with friends

- 11 per cent want to be involved in art, drama and musical activities

- 11 per cent want to be involved in computer/video activities

- 8 per cent wish for unstructured time

- 3 per cent want to learn new things/hobbies

United Way of the Lower Mainland funded the just-completed research at the University of British Columbia/Human Early Learning Partnership. Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Associate Professor Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education in the Faculty of Education at UBC, led the research.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl presented preliminary findings in Burnaby on Wednesday, May 17, at the beginning of the 2006 Learning Summit On Middle Childhood. Child advocates and experts gathered to discuss research, planning and action for children ages 6 to 12.

Many children lack services, resources and programs to meet their developmental needs outside of school.

Said Michael McKnight, President and CEO United Way of the Lower Mainland, "Investing in our kids is a priority for United Way. Our school-age kids are full of great potential."

The issue is a personal one for Dr. Schonert-Reichl, a mother of two young boys. "As a community we can choose to support our children now, so that they can grow up to be resilient and healthy, or we can pay for increasing levels of crisis services for troubled youth in the future. Once the full analysis of the research is completed later this year, we will have a one-of-a-kind comprehensive study on this age group," she said.

The Learning Summit on Middle Childhood is presented by the Lower Mainland School-Aged Children Advisory Committee and United Way of the Lower Mainland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP).

Contact Information

  • United Way of the Lower Mainland
    Michael Becker
    Media Contact
    (604) 268-1333 or Cell: (604) 374-2734