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 afters-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. 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 social development 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. Literacy is supported by offering comfy reading lounges, theater clubs, reading rewards, letter writing activities, and read aloud programs. Lastly, the math component focuses on numeracy, spatial reasoning, and problem solving. Attractive math table games like NBA Math Hoops are offered, and physical math games and construction stations encourage participation in math activities.

Each month, all AYS programs are required to plan and facilitate a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) week. This week is intended to instill an interest and foster engagement in the STEM fields and help the children develop an appreciation and knowledge of visual and performing arts.