Research Findings


Research findings for our program and on a national basis demonstrate that effective after school programs help kids succeed, especially when social and emotional learning is intentionally integrated into the curriculum.


• Higher self esteem and lessened anxiety1
• Measurable academic improvements1
• Improved classroom behavior observed by teachers2
• Significant display of executive function2,3
• Increased attachment to school1


Yale University Research: Ivcevic, Rivers & Brackett, 2004
2  Preliminary RCT findings (final report in progress… Grissmer, 2016)
3 Executive function: the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. 



Improving Social Emotional Skills in Childhood Enhances Long-Term Well-Being and Economic Outcomes finds a recent study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Key Findings include: Each dollar invested in social emotional skill-building programs can return over $11 in benefits; Social emotional skills help children successfully navigate the learning environment, making it more likely they will graduate from both high school and college; With a higher education, people are more likely to get jobs, and jobs with higher salaries, benefiting individuals and society; Good social emotional skills help people lead healthy lives and avoid risky behavior that could contribute to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, delinquency, and crime.

The Wallace Foundation commissioned guide to 25 evidence-based SEL programs was released in May of 2017, offering detailed information about curricular content and programmatic features that practitioners can use to make informed choices about what to use to develop key skills and competencies. Written by Harvard education researcher Stephanie Jones, Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Looking Inside & Across 25 Leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers also explains how the SEL programs can be adapted to out-of-school-time settings, such as afterschool and summer programs.

The evidence continues to mount that developing social and emotional intelligence transforms the lives of children.

An analysis of 73 afterschool programs that build social and emotional skills measured “significant improvement in grades, test scores, attachment to school and positive social behaviors. They also reduced problem behaviors – aggression, non-compliance and misconduct – as well as drug use.

(Durlak, J.A., & Weissberg, R.P. (2007). The impact of afterschool programs that promote personal and social skills. Chicago.

Evidence suggests a correlation between frequent attendance in [after school] activities and positive outcomes including an increase in academic achievement, school attendance, time spent on homework, enjoyment and effort in school, and better student behavior.

(American Youth Policy Forum. (2006) Washington, DC: Helping youth succeed through out-of-school-time programs.

A report on successful strategies in after school programs identified six key indicators of program quality – all of which are consistent with WINGS practices. They are positive staff engagement with youth; positive youth engagement with each other; high-quality, challenging activities; quality homework time; developing relationships with family members at pickup time; and use of appropriate space.

(Wellesley College. (2005). Pathways to success for youth: What counts in After-school. Wellesley, Mass. Massachusets After-School research study, INCRE & NIOST.)