AbstractThis study attempts to investigate the children's and their parents' perception and experiences of the activities offered by children cultural centers in Palestine. The main research question is: how do the children's and parents' perceive the activities offered by a selected child cultural center in Palestine? The sub-research questions are: 1) what are the children and parents' motivation for participation in the activities?, 2) what are the children and parents perceived impact of activities offered by children cultural centers on children's learning and development?, and what are the children's and parents' thoughts about the children cultural center as an out-of-school setting?
The methodological approach of this study is qualitative, with mixed designs; a phenomenological study is used to investigate the concept of activities perceived by the participants', and a case study design to investigate the context of the child cultural center. The children who have been participating in the center's activities represent the population of the study. Sampling includes; Criterion, Snowball, and Criteria Matrix types for selecting the children who are the main informants of the study. The informants are eight children aged 10-12 years (two of them with special needs); their parents; the activity animators; and the director of the center. The instrument of data collection is semi-structured interviews, and by consulting documents.The findings show that activities are perceived form multiple dimensions; recreational, educational & learning enrichment, interaction and communication. There was special emphasis on the relationship between the children and the animators in which was also regarded as motivation. In addition to the motivation, the findings show important aspects of activities such as; free and voluntary participation, frame factors like the center's facilities and free of charge activities, development of activities, positive end-products of activities, variety of activities, age appropriateness, children active involvement.The findings indicate positive change among children both in school and home contexts; regarding their educational and cognitive skills; interaction and communication; and socio-emotional development. The center as an out-of-school setting is perceived as a welcoming setting for all children with and without impairment, educational support, and community social. This perception is peculiar in a time of war where children are easily exposed to several traumatic experiences. Key words: children, activities, children cultural centers, child development, socio-emotional wellbeing.