Heading back to school means much more than the Three Rs for a lot of students in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas.

In addition to their classroom studies, many students are involved in after-school activities that are both fun and educational.

Studies have shown that high-quality, after-school activities help produce improved test scores and study habits, reduced absenteeism, and fewer behavioral problems, while boosting students’ confidence and motivation.

There are dozens of choices for after-school programs in and around Santa Barbara County’s South Coast, involving sports and fitness, the arts, music, technology and more.

In fact, the biggest challenge for some may be narrowing down the options.

Here are just some of the choices:

» The California Learning Center is a full-service tutoring, text-preparation and enrichment educational center.

» KinderMusik with Kathy teaches youngsters music so they can become better learners, developing cognitive, physical, social, emotional, language and musical skills.

» Santa Barbara Soccer Club works to develop every player within the organization to be the best he or she can be.

» TV Santa Barbara is a nonprofit media center where young people can get access to media technology to tell stories, share ideas and create shows.

» Swell Athletic Clubs offers a variety of programs for children at its fitness, tennis and swim centers.

» Sandcastle Music Together provides classes that nurture children’s musical growth, building on their natural enthusiasm for music and movement.

» The Santa Barbara Players’ Academy for boys and girls ages 6 to 8 is designed to offer players, parents and coaches a soccer educational platform for life.

» The City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department offers a variety of classes for youth, from martial arts and dance to gymnastic, cheering, music and more.

» United Way of Santa Barbara County works with a variety of local organization to support programs that provide academic and cultural enrichment.

Click here for Noozhawk’s 2014 After-School Activities Guide.