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In this section, we have provided you with the following tools to help you acquire professional development credit for this workshop. If you are interested, we suggest that you print these items and discuss them with your administrator.


Concept to Classroom: afterschool programs

In this section, participants learn about the recent growth in demand for quality afterschool programs, and about how exemplary afterschool programs can benefit students, families, schools and communities.

Introduction to Our Experts: An-Me Chung, Ellen Gannett, and Adriana de Kanter la Perla

Afterschool programs - setting the stage.

In a relatively short period of time, the afterschool field has grown and changed immensely. Why is this so and why is it happening now?

What specifically is meant by the term "afterschool program"?

  • Defining the term "afterschool program" as used in this workshop

  • Detailing the range of activities these programs provide

  • Looking at the various organizations that run and fund afterschool programs

    Are there differing visions of what an afterschool program should be?

    With so many stakeholders in the field, there are certainly many different visions of what an afterschool program should be. Yet there is also growing agreement on what the "best practices" are for any type of program.

    How do afterschool programs respond to concerns about kids being "over-scheduled?"

    Do afterschool programs expect too much of students?

    Why are afterschool programs good for school-age children and youth?

    1. Afterschool programs can enhance children's academic achievement.

    2. Afterschool programs support children's social development and their relationships with adults.

    3. As well as supporting positive goals, afterschool programs can also lessen risky behaviors, such as drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, by providing young people with positive and healthy alternatives.

    4. Afterschool programs can keep young people from committing crimes, from juvenile delinquency, and prevent them from being the victims of violent crime.

    What benefits do afterschool programs offer to the schools and the community?

    1. Afterschool programs strengthen schools, families, and communities.

    2. Afterschool programs can help create true "community schools" that serve the entire community, not just school kids.

    What is the demand for afterschool programs?

    1. There is a strong and growing demand in this country for quality afterschool programs. This demand is partially in recognition of the good that afterschool programs can do for children and youth, but it is also a direct result of fundamental changes that have taken place in the way American families work and live.

    2. Despite the fast-growing need for these programs, there is a chronic shortage of quality afterschool programs available to the families who need them.

    Where is the support and the funding for the development of these programs coming from?

    1. There is enormous support for more and better afterschool programs from many sectors of society. Agreement on the need for such programs crosses gender, age, income, and partisan lines.

    2. In recognition of the potential of afterschool programs, public and private funding for these programs has increased enormously in the last few years.

  • In this section, participants have the opportunity to view footage of stakeholders in the afterschool field talking about what makes a quality program, and how programs have affected their communities. In addition, participants can see examples of exemplary programs around the country that are meeting the challenges inherent in providing creative and successful afterschool care.

    1. Afterschool "in action"

  • Video clips of students and teachers from programs around the country talking about enrichment and arts activities offered in their afterschool programs, and the results these activities yield.

  • Video clips of students discussing the academic support they receive, and the opportunity afterschool programs provide for them to explore new interests and develop new talents and skills.

  • Video clips that show how afterschool activities address the multiple needs of children, including the need for snack, outdoor play (unstructured physical activity) and rest time.

    2. Voices from the Field

    For everyone from program administrators, to community leaders, to policy-makers, the importance of afterschool programs is clear.

  • Video clips of law-enforcement officers and policy makers describing the importance of afterschool programs.

    3. Programs Around the Country:

    Urban, suburban and rural communities where exemplary afterschool programs have been put in place, and information about how to contact these programs.

  • Virtual Y, New York, New York

  • Michigan: KLICK! (Kids Learning in Computer Klubhouses)

  • Marshalltown, Iowa: A Rural Pioneer

  • St. Louis Public Schools 21st Century Community Centers Connections for Youth: Kids Spending the Summer Learning About Government

    Afterschool programs that integrate school-day and afterschool curricula.

  • Cason Lane Academy, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, Extended Day and Saturday Academy Seattle, Washington

  • P.S. 5, New York, New York
  • In the Exploration section, participants look at the steps involved in setting up an afterschool program that meets the needs of children and youth and serves and strengthens the entire community.

    What first steps do I need to take to establish a good afterschool program?

    1. Set goals that reflect the needs of the children and families in your community.

    2. Establish strong leadership and a clear organizational structure.

    3. Develop a budget and financial plan that provides for long-term sustainability.

    4. Understand the legal requirements and liability issues for your afterschool programs, and be sure your plan addresses them.

    5. Address the safety, health, and nutritional issues that face the children in your program.

    6. Carefully consider staffing needs

  • Hire and retain skilled, qualified, caring staff people

  • Provide for professional development

  • Ensure low adult/child ratios and small group sizes

  • Enlist school day teachers as afterschool staff

    What kinds of activities should my program include?

    The best programs offer a balance of academics, recreation, enrichment, and cultural activities.

    Academic activities should be fun, engaging, and, ideally, should be coordinated with school-day curricula.

    Activities centered on a specific project can provide challenges along with fun.

    Activities must meet the developmental needs of students, especially for downtime, for nutrition, for letting off steam.

    How can I involve families and the community? How will this benefit my program and the community as a whole?

    Why involve the larger community?

  • Afterschool programs exist in response to the changing needs of American families, and therefore must remain continuously in-tune with family concerns.

  • The community as a whole also has a serious stake in successful afterschool programs, to reduce crime and other problems that arise when youth are unsupervised, and to help ensure that young people become responsible, contributing members of society.

    Ensuring that parent involvement is meaningful, from initial planning through continued leadership

    Finding strategies for open communication with family, school-day teachers to ensure an effective flow of information

    Giving parents and other members of community opportunities to volunteer and lead

    Making use of existing networks of youth-serving organizations

    Including children and youth in planning, communication, and leadership

    How will we evaluate whether or not the program is meeting the needs of the children and of the community?

    1. Begin with clear goals to:

    • improve the quality of care your program provides
    • garner more support and funding
    • make strategic plans for the future of the program
    2. Consider the whole ecology of the program in your evaluation

    3. Tools to solicit feedback, gather data, ask questions:

    • Examine how well the activities are structured and managed by staff:
    • Examine relationships between youth and staff
    • Examine the activity's level of challenge:
    What challenges or obstacles might I face in setting up a quality afterschool program?

    1. Using existing resources creatively to meet the on-going challenges of providing quality afterschool care, and to bridge the gap between your community's program and ideal practices.

    What is the role of technology in afterschool programs?

    1. Using technology to enhance the academic and enrichment activities for students in your afterschool program.

    2. Technology for program administrators

  • In this section, participants focus on the actual classroom experience in an afterschool program. They will develop a schedule and a curriculum theme, and go through a step-by-step method to plan activities for their own afterschool program.

    Key Principles of Developing an Afterschool Curriculum

    • Provide Structure with Flexibility
    • Plan a Variety of Activities
    • Give Students Choices
    • Provide Opportunities for Student Input
    • Pay Attention to the Particular Needs of Your Program
    Before the Planning Process Begins: Things to Consider

    1. Addressing the needs and interests of students and staff

    2. Common Obstacles to Implementation

      a) Child dynamics
      b) Environment
      c) Content Knowledge
      d) Storage
      e) Administration and Staff
      f) Money, materials
      g) Time
    3. Scheduling
      1. Structure and Flexibility
      2. Transition Time
    A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Activities for your Afterschool Program

    Creating an Activity Web

    Step 1. Set up a brainstorming session during program time where staff and students work together to come up with possible themes.

    Step 2. Tack a large piece of paper to the blackboard or the wall and make a large circle (or bubble) in the center of it. Write your chosen theme in that circle.

    Step 3. Surround the circle containing the theme word with other bubbles. Connect each surrounding bubble to the center circle with a line to show they are related to your theme.

    Step 4. For each category you have drawn in the previous step, think of as many activities as you can, and write your ideas in new bubbles coming off of the category.

    Step 5. Choose which activities you will focus on.

    Step 6. Decide in what order you will do them.

    Step 7. Place the activities you have decided upon into the schedule you developed earlier.

    Step 8. Develop a matrix which can be used as a lesson plan.

      For every activity chosen, describe:
      • The developmental need or needs the activity might fill: Choose one or more of the seven developmental needs cited on that chart.

      • The child and youth characteristics to which the activity corresponds: Match one or more of the characteristics of children or youth listed on the corresponding charts.

      • The purpose for the activity: Detail your reasons or purpose for doing the activity.

      • The desired result: Indicate what you might see, as children successfully accomplish the activity.


    Workshop: Afterschool Programs - From Vision to Reality
    Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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