Archive for June, 2009

Effective Management Training

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Effective Management Training

Effective Management Training

REGISTER EARLY!

August 11th, 12th and 13th, 2009

Once again NJSACC is bringing the National Institute on Out-of-School Time from Wellesley, MA to New Jersey.

Funding in part provided by New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development as part of a Federal CCDF Block Grant Earmark and the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by No Child Left Behind, Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant funds awarded to the New Jersey Department of Education.

When: Tuesday 8/11th, Wednesday 8/12th, & Thursday 8/13th
9:00am-3:00pm

Where: First Baptist Church of Westfield,
170 Elm Street, Westfield, NJ 07090

Public Transit: 5 minute walk from Westfield, NJ Transit stop on Raritan Valley line.

Cost: $175 which includes continental breakfast, lunch and materials

Hotel Info: http://www.boylehotels.com/bwwi-index.asp
Hotel fees are NOT included in registration fee.

Westfield, NJ Info: http://westfieldtoday.com/

Who should attend?

• New to the field Directors
• Experienced Directors
• Afterschool Coordinators
• 21st CCLC Project Directors
• Evaluators of afterschool programs


What:

This training will focus on the administrative components of a quality afterschool program. Included will be effective systems to manage fiscal resources and administrative policies, evaluation and outcomes, workplace issues, strategies for recruitment and retention, staff development and training, ideas for building a family-responsive program, building a “learning organization,” leadership and management styles, and working collaboratively with schools and communities.

About the presenters:


The presenters for this session work with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST ). For more than two decades, NIOST has been the national leader in providing highly interactive, research based training for directors and staff, school administrators, community leaders, and others committed to providing high quality afterschool programs for children and youth.

Ellen Clippinger, MS Ed :

is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AYS, Inc., a not-for-profit youth-serving agency operating over 50 programs in a four-county area in the Indianapolis community. Ellen has been instrumental in piloting various types of programs to meet the needs of working parents-early childhood programs housed in school settings, wrap-around kindergarten programs within the school, as well as winter and spring breaks and summer camps. A summer camp devoted to arts education with a culminating final performance by the children and youth from the camp is now in its fifth season.

Molly McNally-Dunn:


has been an advocate for the school-age child for thirty years. This passion began professionally as an elementary teacher in Massachusetts and in New York. She then journeyed to early childhood care and education as a nutrition consultant to family child care providers and a teacher for pre-licensing of family child care homes in Colorado. She has worked in both the private and public sectors and currently administers fourteen school-based school-age care programs for Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado


Presented in partnership with NJSACC

Questions:
Please call NJSACC at 908-789-0259 with any questions. Registration form below.

****************************************************************
Effective Management for Afterschool

Registration Form

Participants must attend each day: Tue/Wed/Thu 8/11-8/13/09

Name: _________________________________________________________
(Last) (First) (M.I.)
Address: ___________________________________________(#)
City_________________________________State:___________________Zip____
Phone (Home): ________________________________ (Work): _______________

E-mail Address: ______________________________

Program Name:__________________________________________________________

Program Address: _______________________________________________________

Method of Payment: ( ) Check/Money Order ( ) Visa ( ) MasterCard ( ) P.O. – Please Attach Copy

Charge Card Account # __________/__________/__________/___________
Expiration Date _____/______

Signature/Name on Card __________________________________________

Zip Code attached to Credit Card ___________ Amount Paid ___________

Are you a 21st CCLC Grantee? Yes___ No___

Registration Information:
• Registration is limited
• Registrations must be received by August 3rd, 2009.
• Cancellations must be made by August 3rd, 2009.
• No refunds will be given after August 13th, 2009 however, substitutions may be made at any time.


FAX Complete the registration form and fax it to our secure fax line at
908 -789-4237.
MAIL Complete the registration form and mail it to:
NJSACC, 231 North Avenue West #363, Westfield, NJ 07090
Enclose a check or money order for the appropriate amount, made payable to NJSACC.
We also accept purchase orders.

Garden Grants $$$$$$

Friday, June 26th, 2009

NJSACC is  offering free technical assistance to apply for this grant!
Read the information  below and watch the Afterschool FLASH for  information on the TA Help session.

2010 Youth Garden Grants Program
Deadline: November 2, 2009

Ages Served:K-12
Maximum Award: $1,000
Sponsoring Organization

National Gardening Association and The Home Depot

URL

http://www.kidsgardening.com/YGG.asp

Short Description

By awarding Youth Garden Grants to schools and community organizations with child-centered garden programs, the National Garden Association has helped more than 1.3 million youngsters reap rewards and vital life lessons from working in gardens and habitats. Priority will be given to programs that emphasize one or more of the following elements:

  • Educational focus or curricular/program integration
  • Nutrition or plant-to-food connections
  • Environmental awareness/education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Social aspects of gardening such as leadership development, team building, community support, or service-learning

Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and intergenerational groups throughout the United States are eligible for the grant. Applicants must plan to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 years.

Geographic Eligibility

National

Peer Reviewers Needed!

Friday, June 26th, 2009

NJ After 3 requested that NJSACC distribute this invitation to NJ’s Afterschool Network.

NJ After 3 would like to invite you to serve as a Peer Reviewer in the Round 6 Grant Review process.
To ensure that high quality applications are selected for funding, we seek qualified individuals representing geographic, gender, racial and ethnic diversity.
NJ After 3 requests the assistance of educators, youth service professionals and members of the corporate and foundation community to participate in the Peer Review process.

This round of funding will only target afterschool programs in the city of Trenton.

When: Tuesday, August 11th  from 9:30am to 6pm
Wednesday, August 12th from 9:30am-5pm

Where: Rutgers University Inn & Conference Center in New Brunswick, NJ

Lodging and meals included  . Partial or full travel expense reimbursements may also be included.

To compete  the Peer Reviewer application CLICK HERE TO APPLY
The deadline for submission is July 22, 2009.
You will be notified by NJ After 3 via email if you have been accepted.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Summer is here .
Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State is in full swing.
Why are we so committed as an afterschool network to this campaign?  Read article below.

Have  a great weekend.

Diane M. Genco
Executive Director
NJSACC: The Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities


Insight: Nature-Deficit Disorder

By Richard Louv

A generation ago, kids learned about the natural world by “going out to play.” Today, many have virtually no experience with the unadulterated out-of-doors. Is this separation making our kids sick?

Author and child-advocacy expert Richard Louv, like many baby boomers, spent his childhood tromping through the great outdoors and hanging out in tree houses. Then he grew up, had kids of his own and discovered just how much things had changed: Today’s kids, he realized, were more likely to know about global environmental perils than about the ecosystems within a 10-mile radius of their homes. They were more likely to understand complex video games than to be familiar with creatures they might find crawling around under an actual rock. Such observations led Louv to inquire about what, besides fun, this young generation’s lack of nature-based experience might be costing them.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin, 2005) is Louv’s examination of how contemporary society has become increasingly estranged from the natural world. He surveys the physiological, environmental, social, psychological and spiritual implications this estrangement is likely to have for us and for our children.

Louv, who has written for The New York Times, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, presents scientific research and expert anecdotal observations supporting the notion that time spent in nature is essential to healthy human development. He argues that our children’s diminished connection with nature may be at least partially to blame for this generation’s struggles with obesity, depression, and learning and behavior disorders. He also suggests that increasing kids’ exposure to nature-based experiences and education may provide at least a partial remedy for these ills.

In the following excerpt, adapted from Last Child in the Woods, Louv considers how nature may help fight Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). — Eds.

“My son is still on Ritalin, but he’s so much calmer in the outdoors that we’re seriously considering moving to the mountains,” one mother says. “There’s just something calming to him about being outside in nature.”

Many physicians and psychologists share her sentiment. “Our brains are set up for an agrarian, nature-oriented existence that came into focus five thousand years ago,” says Michael Gurian, a family therapist and best-selling author of The Good Son (Tarcher, 1999) and The Wonder of Boys (Putnam, 1997). “Neurologically, human beings haven’t caught up with today’s overstimulating environment. The brain is strong and flexible, so 70 to 80 percent of kids adapt fairly well. But the rest don’t. Getting kids out in nature can make a difference. We know this anecdotally, though we can’t prove it yet.”

Some studies, however, do suggest that nature may be useful as a therapy for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and that it may be successfully used with, or in some cases instead of, medications or behavioral therapies. As a result, some researchers now recommend that parents and educators make experiences with nature — especially green places — more available to children with ADHD. Such experiences, they suggest, may support these children’s attentional functioning and minimize their symptoms.

Nature’s Nurture

The growing understanding of nature’s role in creating and maintaining healthy childhood development may suggest the use of a new term, “nature-deficit disorder,” to describe the imbalance currently being experienced by many of our children, including but not limited to those diagnosed with ADHD.

I am not suggesting the use of this term in any scientific or clinical sense. Certainly no academic researchers currently use the term nature-deficit disorder; nor do they attribute ADHD entirely to a nature deficit. But based on accumulating scientific evidence, I would argue that the concept — or hypothesis — of nature-deficit disorder is an appropriate and useful description of one factor that may aggravate attentional difficulties for many children.

Consider the diagnosis and current treatments of choice. Nearly 8 million children in the United States suffer from mental disorders, ADHD being one of the more prevalent. The disorder often develops before age 7, and it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 10. Children with the syndrome are restless, and they have trouble paying attention, listening, following directions and focusing on tasks. They may also be aggressive, even antisocial, and may suffer from academic failure. Once blamed on poor parenting and other social factors, ADHD is now believed to be an organic disorder associated with differences in the brain morphology of children.

Concerned medical experts assert that, while necessary in some cases, the stimulant medications most often prescribed for ADHD treatment, including methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Dexedrine), are vastly overprescribed — perhaps as much as 10 to 40 percent of the time. The number of patients using such medications increased 600 percent between 1990 and 1995, and that figure continues to rise, especially among younger children.

Much about the sudden increase in cases of ADHD remains a mystery. The massive increase in ADHD diagnoses and treatment may, in fact, simply be a matter of recognition: Some experts believe ADHD has been a problem for years but went undiagnosed until it had a name.

Another explanation for the increase in diagnoses boils down to the availability of treatment: Three decades ago the medications now used to treat ADHD were not widely known, not as intensely marketed by pharmaceutical companies and not yet fully trusted by physicians. But whatever the opinions about these drugs may be, the fact is they do little to address the root causes of ADHD.

Tree Climbing vs. TV Watching

While we still don’t fully understand the causes of ADHD, there is mounting evidence that it has at least some ties to specific types of childhood experiences, including television viewing. The first study to link television watching to ADHD was published in April 2004 in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle determined that each hour of TV watched per day by preschoolers increases by 10 percent the likelihood that they will develop concentration problems and other symptoms of attention-deficit disorders (ADDs) by age 7.

This information is disturbing. But television is only one small part of the much larger environmental and cultural change that has taken place in our lifetime, including the very rapid move from a rural culture to a highly urbanized one.

For most of human history, families had every reason — and every opportunity — to encourage their children toward work, learning and play that was steeped in nature. This was where life skills and strengths were developed; this was where the most fun and action could be had. Today, due to a variety of intersecting factors — the disappearance of open spaces, the rise of electronic entertainments, the emergence of safety concerns, the introduction of longer school hours and busy, two-wage-earner family lifestyles — our kids’ access to (and motivation toward) nature-based outdoor experience is in much shorter supply.

Not Enough Data

There is notably little scientific data specifically measuring the decline of children’s time spent in nature, in part because the problem emerged so quickly. Good longitudinal studies that span the decades are missing. “We don’t have older data to compare,” explains Louise Chawla, a Kentucky State University environmental psychology professor and a tireless champion for increasing children’s experience in nature. “No one thought to ask these questions 30, 40 or 50 years ago.”

The other problem is that no one is likely to fund such studies, even now. For years, James Sallis has been studying why some children and adults are more active than others. He is program director of the Active Living Research Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a multiyear effort to discover how to design recreational facilities and whole communities so they stimulate people of all ages to be more active. The studies are focusing on sites such as urban parks, recreation centers, streets and private homes.

“Based on previous studies, we can definitely say that the best predictor of preschool children’s physical activity is simply being outdoors,” Sallis says, “and that an indoor, sedentary childhood is linked to mental-health problems.” But when I asked what they had learned about how children used woods, fields, canyons and vacant lots — in other words, unstructured, natural sites — he told me: “We don’t ask about those places.”

The reason such research is unlikely to be conducted, he noted, was that there’s no economic interest involved. But there is a strong interest on the part of many parents in doing whatever they can to improve the prospects for their children’s mental and physical health, including finding ways for their kids to enjoy more direct exposure to the natural environments that appear to do them the most good.

The “Restorative Environment”

Many parents notice significant changes in their hyperactive child’s behavior when that child hikes in mountains or enjoys other unstructured, nature-oriented outings. And science is beginning to give us some insight as to why such outdoor activities dampen the effects of ADHD.

Husband-and-wife research team Stephen and Rachel Kaplan developed the well-established attention-restoration theory. Environmental psychologists at the University of Michigan, the Kaplans were inspired by philosopher and psychologist William James. In 1890, James described two kinds of attention: directed attention and fascination, or involuntary attention.

In the early 1970s, the Kaplans began a nine-year study for the U.S. Forest Service. They followed participants in an Outward Bound–like wilderness program, which took people into the wilds for up to two weeks. During these treks or afterward, subjects reported feeling a sense of peace and an ability to think more clearly; they also reported that just being in nature was more restorative than the physically challenging activities, such as rock climbing, for which such programs are mainly known.

The positive effect of “the restorative environment” was vastly greater than the Kaplans expected. According to their research, too much directed attention (the kind children are expected to exhibit in the classroom, for example) leads to “directed-attention fatigue,” marked by impulsive behavior, agitation, irritation and inability to concentrate.

Directed-attention fatigue occurs because neural inhibitory mechanisms become fatigued by blocking competing stimuli. As Stephen Kaplan explained in Monitor on Psychology, “If you can find an environment where the attention is automatic, you allow directed attention to rest. And that means an environment that’s strong on fascination.”

Nature is an ideal example of such an environment. Indeed, according to the Kaplans, nature can be the most effective source of such restorative relief.

Nature’s Ritalin

Attention-restoration theory applies to everyone, regardless of age. But what about children, especially those with ADHD?

Some of the most important work in this area has been done at the Human-Environment Research Laboratory (HERL) at the University of Illinois. Researchers Andrea Faber Taylor, Frances Kuo and William C. Sullivan have found that green outdoor spaces foster creative play, improve children’s access to positive adult interaction — and relieve the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. The greener the setting, the more relief. By comparison, indoor activities, such as watching TV or being outdoors in paved, non-green areas increase the symptoms.

In a survey of families with children ages 7 to 12 diagnosed with ADD, parents or guardians were asked to identify afterschool or weekend activities that left their child functioning especially well or particularly poorly. Activities were coded “green” or “not green.” Green activities, for example, included camping and fishing. Not-green activities included watching television, playing video games, doing homework. Some activities, such as inline skating, were labeled “ambiguous.”

The controls in this study were more complex than space allows me to describe, but suffice it to say the research team was careful to account for variables. They found that greenery in a child’s everyday environment, even a view of green spaces through a window, specifically reduces attention-deficit symptoms. While outdoor activities in general help, settings with trees and grass are most beneficial.

As the researchers reported in Environment and Behavior, “compared to the aftereffects of play in paved outdoor or indoor areas, activities in natural, green settings were far more likely to leave ADD children better able to focus [and] concentrate. Activities that left ADD children in worse?shape were far more likely to occur indoors or in outdoor spaces devoid of greenery.”

They also found that the positive influence of near-home nature on concentration may be more pronounced for girls (ages 6 to 9) than for boys. On average, the greener a girl’s view from home, the better she concentrates, the less she acts impulsively and the longer she can delay gratification. This helps her do better in school, handle peer pressure and avoid dangerous, unhealthy or problem behaviors. She is more likely to behave in ways that foster success in life, according to the researchers.

Taylor’s and Kuo’s more recent research findings are equally provocative. According to an unpublished study (which Taylor emphasizes is “a work in progress”), attention performance for unmedicated children clinically diagnosed with ADHD was better after a simple 20-minute walk in a park with a natural setting than it was after a walk through well-kept downtown and residential areas.

On the Horizon

Expanding such knowledge about the benefits of green spaces, and applying it in practical ways, will be the next challenge. Although today’s medications for ADHD offer temporary gains, including sustained attention and academic productivity, these medications may do little for a child’s long-term success, either socially or academically. The medications can also have unpleasant side effects, among them sleep disruption, depression and growth suppression of approximately half an inch per year on average, as reported in a large randomized trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. A second class of treatment, behavioral therapies, teaches children how to self-monitor attention and impulsive behavior, but the success of these therapies has been mixed.

More time in nature — combined with less television and more stimulating play and educational settings — may go a long way toward reducing attention deficits in children, and, just as important, increasing their joy in life. As Kuo points out, prescribing “green time” for the treatment of ADHD has [its] advantages: It’s widely accessible, free of side effects, nonstigmatizing and inexpensive.

Despite the apparent promise of nature-based experience as a beneficial therapy, it’s important to note that research on the impact of nature experiences on attention disorders and on wider aspects of child health and development is still very much in its infancy, and it is easily challenged. In fact, scientists doing some of the best research in this area are the first to call attention to this limitation.

“For many of us, intuition emphatically asserts that nature is good for children,” write Taylor and Kuo in an overview of the research to date, and so it is tempting, they note, to draw conclusions that are not, as yet, conclusively born out by clinical evidence. But if it is true that nature therapy reduces the symptoms of ADHD, then it’s worth considering that the converse may also be true: ADHD may be a set of symptoms aggravated by lack of exposure to nature. And if, as a growing body of evidence recommends, “contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep,” then, as Taylor and Kuo conclude, “the current trends in children’s access to nature need to be addressed.”

Even the most extensive research is unlikely to capture the full benefits of direct experience with nature within a person’s lifetime. As the sign over Albert Einstein’s office at Princeton University read, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Clearly, more research is needed to lend deeper insight into the data already gathered, but we don’t have to wait for more research to act on our parental instincts and common sense.

As Taylor and Kuo argue, “given the pattern of statistically reliable findings all pointing the same direction and persisting across different subpopulations of children, different settings and in spite of design weaknesses,” it is fast becoming a matter of logical efficiency “to accept the fact that nature does promote healthy child development.”

Adapted from Richard Louv’s most recent work, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin, 2005). For more on this and the author’s other books, visit http://richardlouv.com/.

Free Workshop on Financial Education!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The goal of the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education is to improve the personal financial literacy of New Jersey’s citizens by promoting the teaching of personal finance to people of all ages. The Coalition believes that all citizens of New Jersey must have the financial literacy necessary to make informed financial decisions.

Workshop on Financial Education!
Tuesday, August 4, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm,
NJEA Region 29 Conference Center
Golden Crest Corporate Center
2279 State Highway 33 – Suite 508
Hamilton, NJ

9:00 -1:00 PM (registration at 9:00)

Teaching financial literacy is new to many NJ schools. Attend this 4-hour workshop and learn what financial literacy is all about, how to find helpful resources to teach the core content areas, and how to adapt materials to meet your students’ needs.
This interactive workshop will provide opportunities for sharing successful strategies and approaches that work and obtain helpful turn-key teaching materials and resources.
Special emphasis will be on working with urban, special-needs, and alternative learning style students.

Teachers from urban, suburban, home-school, youth groups, and rural areas are welcome to attend.

This program is sponsored by the NJ Coalition for Financial Education, the NJ Education Association Region 29, and the NJ Department of Education with funding from Citi Bank.
Register at http://education.state.nj.us/events/

There is no cost to educators.
Space is limited so register early.
4 professional development credits are available.

If you have questions about the content of the workshop, contact Carole Glade, program coordinator, at 973-377-7577.
The NJ Coalition for Financial Education http://www.njcfe.org/.