AYS programs create safe and caring environments that provide a balance of academic and social development through a variety of choice-directed and staff-directed activities. Choice-directed activities are easily accessible and include table games, learning stations and craft time. Staff-directed activities require direct instruction and supervision and are related to AYS curriculum components and standards.

AYS after-school programs provide a minimum of one staff-led curriculum activity per day. AYS curriculum is amalgamated from nationally and internationally respected institutions and museums. These sources align with state, national or international standards. Curriculum workshops are held each month to assist program directors and staff. Additional workshops are offered through the AYS Professional Development Center.

All AYS before- and after-school programs focus on four core components when developing weekly and daily activities: Health, Literacy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and SEL (Social and Emotional Learning). The Health core component focuses on fostering healthy habits, encouraging outdoor play, and improving physical fitness in all children. This is implemented by outdoor activities and free play as often as the weather allows, healthy cooking clubs, fitness tracking, and special games. The Literacy component is supported by offering comfy reading lounges, theater clubs, reading rewards, letter writing activities, and read aloud programs. The STEM component focuses on learning through the use of science, technology, engineering, and math. Lastly, the SEL component focuses on service, good citizenship, and character development. Some activities that support those goals are philanthropic curriculum, youth leadership opportunities, learning about different cultures, cooperative games, and character building activities.