Programming and activities support youth development and learning, and they are fun, engaging, and tailored to the youth in the program.
1. Activities are intentional and are aligned with the program’s mission
- Staff choose activities based on careful consideration of the purpose.
- Staff consider the program’s mission when choosing activities.
2. Activities are tailored to the individual youth in the program
- Activities are geared towards developing each individual youth’s interests, talents, and skills.
- Activities are suited to the individual learning styles of youth in the program.
- Activities represent the languages and cultures of youth in the program.
- Activities are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.
3. Youth learning through program activities is experiential and related to real-world challenges
- Most activities are hands-on, interactive, project-based, inquiry-based, and/or encourage youth exploration of their world.
4. Activities support the development of youths’ personal, social, and emotional skills
- The program includes a strong focus on developing youths’ personal, social, and emotional skills. These include self-awareness skills, self-management skills, social awareness skills, relationship skills, decision-making skills, and other learning skills.
- The program is explicit about the specific personal, social, and emotional skills it seeks to develop and what program activities support these goals.
- Activities for teaching personal, social, and emotional skills revolve around giving youth opportunities to practice these skills.
- For complex personal, social, and emotional skills, the program breaks these down into developmental steps and provides activities that help youth master the steps one-byone over time.
- See the glossary and the resources section for more information about personal, social, and emotional skills.
5. The program offers a variety of activities
- Youth can choose which activity to participate in from among a variety of activities offered.
- There is a balance among types of activities offered. Examples of types of activities include, but are not limited to, the following: literacy, the arts, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math), cooking, community service/service learning, sports and games, health-promotion, quiet activity, socializing, and multi-cultural/global learning.
- There are both youth-directed and staff-directed activities.
- Youth have opportunities to play/work individually as well as collaboratively in a small or large group.
6. Programming includes, but is not limited by, homework and tutoring activities
- There is balance between time youth spend doing homework and time spent doing other activities.
- The program is accommodating to youths’ different learning styles while completing homework. For example, students are allowed to do homework in a variety of spaces and positions.
- The program has a policy on how it approaches homework and shares this policy with parents.
7. The program’s use of technology and electronics is intentional and supports quality programming
- Activities encourage active versus passive involvement with technology and electronics.
- Activities and staff encourage youth to make safe, healthy, and carefully-considered choices in their use of technology and electronics.
8. The daily routine is structured and stable, while flexible enough to meet the changing or individual needs of youth.
- Most days follow the same basic structure, and a daily schedule is posted.
- There are procedures in place for communicating about upcoming activities to families. Examples are monthly calendars or newsletters.
- The program allows adjustments to the regular schedule when appropriate.
9. Movement between activities is youth-centered
- Youth can move between activities on their own without waiting for the whole group to move, to the extent possible.
- When the group has to move as a whole, the program manages the movement so it is orderly and quick and youth waiting is limited.
10. Materials are adequate for programming
- Materials are in good condition. They are stored in an organized manner to keep them that way and encourage youth to take good care of them.
- There are enough materials for the number of youth and the activities offered.
- The materials are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.
- Staff use formal procedures and/or information methods for communicating with the schools the youth attend. For example, the program administration may seek to develop a collaborative relationship with the school principal(s) or attend building team or instructional meetings at the school(s). These collaborations may vary depending on whether the program is sited at a school and whether it serves youth from one school or multiple schools.
- Program staff are aware of the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day.
- Activities complement the school day rather than repeat what youth do in the classroom.
- Program links to the school day are informed by the needs of the individual youth.
- The program takes steps to make the schools aware of the importance of the afterschool program and what it offers.
- Program staff receive training to ensure that they are qualified to oversee program activities.
- Staff training around programming and activities is suited to the needs of the particular program.
- Wherever possible, the program links professional development opportunities for program staff and for school staff.
- Professional development in this area follows the guidelines for appropriate and high quality professional development outlined in the Administration section, standard #4. For example, professional development around programming and activities includes mentoring and on-going, job-embedded learning in addition to formal training opportunities.
|Physical activities, including the relationships between screen use and physical activity||Healthy Behavior: Physical Activity||1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
|Outdoor Activities||Outdoor Environment||5|
|Special precautions during activities requiring increased attention to safety||Safety and Environmental Health||7|