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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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JUN
24

RESEARCH
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Learning and development: It's academic and much more

By Jen Rinehart

A new Wallace Foundation funded report, Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework, pulls together decades of research from across a number of fields to illustrate that children need more than academic knowledge alone to succeed in life.  

The developmental framework highlights four foundational components – (1) self-regulation, (2) knowledge and skills, (3) mindsets and (4) values – and describes how these components are essential to success and are shaped by each young person’s developmental experiences and relationships in multiple settings,  including home, school and organized activities, like afterschool and summer learning programs.   

The report also emphasizes how the foundational components interact to affect learning and development and how ineffective it is to target only one component in isolation.  As a former teacher with a master’s degree in human development and a long history of working in the afterschool field, I was especially drawn to this excerpt highlighting how a narrow focus on content knowledge in isolation actually undermines learning and development:

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learn more about: Youth Development
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JUN
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  June 24, 2015

By Luci Manning

Louisiana Afterschool Programs Not Meeting Demand, Survey Says (Alexandria Town Talk, Louisiana)

Parents across Louisiana are having trouble finding afterschool and summer learning programs for their kids, according to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM survey. By extending the day during the school year and into the summer, quality programs supplement what schools already provide and help augment student learning, United Way of Central Louisiana president and CEO David Britt said. Many area programs are already doing a good job, but Louisiana needs more high-quality programs to meet demand. "The community has got to step up and help," Britt told the Alexandria Town Talk. "There's more the community can do to align learning with what schools already are doing and have a big impact on student learning."

Valley Organization Connects Families with Affordable Summer Camps (KPHO, Arizona)

With summer camp season in full swing, many parents are struggling to find places for their children to spend summer vacation. "We see far more families expressing interest in having their children enrolled in summer programs than are actually able to participate now," Afterschool Alliance vice president of research and policy Jen Rinehart told KPHO. To fill the gap, groups like the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence are working to place children in affordable summer learning programs that provide a safe place, positive relationships and learning opportunities.

Letter: Summer Learning Is Important (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Washington)

Afterschool Ambassador Brent Cummings penned a letter to the editor of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin touting the benefits of local summer learning programs: “At Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st Century summer programs, children get a heavy dose of exercise for both the mind and brain, giving kids opportunities for fun, interactive learning such as robotics camps, building drones and quad-copters, creating movies and TV shows, programming and testing self-created video games, and designing and 3-D printing board game pieces…. On behalf of all our students and their families, please spread the word about the importance of high quality, accessible summer learning programs.”

Letter: Summer Fun Benefits (Kansas City Star, Missouri)

Afterschool Ambassador Kim Chappelow-Lee wrote a letter to the editor of the Kansas City Star about how her summer learning program improves students’ physical health and academic abilities: “Keeping minds and bodies engaged during the summer goes a long way toward avoiding what researchers call summer learning loss…. At the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, children get plenty of exercise, which fuels both body and brain, along with opportunities for fun interactive learning, including: STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), gardening, field trips, community service, environmental education, social interaction and lots of fresh air. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough programs to go around.”

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JUN
22

IN THE FIELD
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Project Play: A playbook to get every kid in the game

By Lindsay Damiano

Project Play, a report and initiative created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Aspen Institute, and other advocates for children’s health, explores ways to engage more kids in physical activity. “A playbook to get every kid in the game,” Project Play provides ways that communities can come together to fight the decline of kids’ participation in sports.

The National PTA Conference, taking place this Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a perfect opportunity to share the problem addressed and the tools suggested in the Project Play report with parents, teachers, and other friends of afterschool. The report finds that fewer than half of children ages 6 to 11 are engaging in the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day, in part due to a decline in participation in team sports. Project Play finds that household income is the largest determinant of a child’s access and participation in programs – children living in low-income households are about half as likely to participate in sports as children from wealthier homes, the report finds. Afterschool programs help to fill that gap and keep all kids active through play. On a typical day in an afterschool program, 67 percent of kids are physically active for 30+ minutes. Project Play aims to make 100 percent of kids able, confident, and wanting to be active by age 12, and everyone is a part of their strategy.

  • For parents: Join a local sport board and promote inclusive policies to increase all kids’ access. Support your local afterschool programs, where children can learn and play sports in a fun, non-competitive environment.
  • For teachers and administrators: Commit to providing recess and daily physical education, and explore expanding access to intramurals and alternative sports. Grow efforts to open up your facilities during the non-school hours to community sport groups.
  • For other friends of afterschool: Advocate in your communities for open play time in gyms and fields, and turn the space over to kids. Donate your time and skills to help afterschool programs provide quality physical education and inclusive sports playing.

Afterschool plays a major role in keeping kids active. Let’s bring parents, teachers, and all other community leaders together to help America’s kids become active for life.

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learn more about: Health and Wellness
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JUN
22

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool programs help Dad every weekday afternoon

By Lindsay Damiano

Father’s Day yesterday gave us all a special opportunity to tell our dads how important they are to us and how grateful we are for all they do. Dads often put in 110% for their kids, rushing to get them to school, to soccer practice, to Grandpa’s, to birthday parties… while also often working during the day. Afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind; our most recent America After 3PM survey found that 74 percent of parents agreed afterschool programs help them keep their jobs. A safe, engaging place for kids to go after school turns out to be a pretty great gift for Dad.

Unfortunately, not all parents are able to enroll their child in an afterschool program. Ten million kids participate in an afterschool program now, but the parents of another 19 million would enroll their child if there were a program available. That means that for every child able to participate, two more are waiting to get into a program. Dads and moms value these programs for keeping their kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and giving them peace of mind when they are at work.

Tell Congress that every parent deserves the benefits that universal afterschool access can provide. When parents across the country are putting in 110%, elected representatives should be giving their all to increase funding for afterschool. It supports working parents like the #1 Dad in your life.   

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JUN
19

RESEARCH
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Summer's Challenge

By Jodi Grant

This post originally appeared on MomsRising.org.

Every mother knows how much work it can be to figure out summer plans for our kids, mesh parents’ work schedules with children’s summer pursuits, and find fun, educational activities that keep our children active and constructively engaged when schools are out. What looks like freedom and vacation time to children requires a huge amount of preparation by moms.

For some families, summer destination or sleepaway camps, vacations or staycations fill some of those long periods when kids would otherwise be unsupervised during June, July and August, and they are often a great experience. But without summer learning programs run by school systems, Y’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, and afterschool programs that transform into summer programs, I’m not sure what we’d do. These programs make it possible for kids to be engaged in fun, safe, supervised, educational activities. Moreover, they help kids hit the ground running when school resumes in the fall, combating the “summer learning loss” that sometimes causes students to backslide on academics during the summer.

They do that by creating valuable opportunities for students to do all kinds of great things, including exploring a host of hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities that most classrooms can’t accommodate; learning to garden and to cook healthy meals; and supporting their communities through service projects large and small. At the same time, of course, summer learning programs help children become more fit and physically active through sports, games and outdoor activities.

I’m lucky to have summer learning programs available, but many families don’t. In my day job, I’m executive director of the Afterschool Alliance and our series of America After 3PM studies over the years has shown us a lot about how children spend their summers, as well as their afternoons during the school year.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Summer Learning
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JUN
18

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool Ambassadors gear up for summer learning

By Lindsay Damiano

National Summer Learning Day is finally here, and Afterschool Ambassadors across the country have organized exciting and creative ways for their local communities to celebrate.

Ambassadors and Ambassadors Emeriti lead the way in providing afterschool programs to so many kids across the country, and that work doesn’t stop in the summer. National Summer Learning Day is an opportunity to celebrate summer learning and think about how we can get more kids into programs that keep them learning year-round to help close the achievement gap.

To celebrate National Summer Learning Day with STEM and adventure, families in Johnson County, Kansas will participate in “The Mid-Summer’s Night Cache.” This geocaching exploration will lead scavengers with a GPS device to the hidden caches and then to a fire pit with hot dogs, s’mores and summer learning resource materials.

Nearby, Gardner, Kansas L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Education and Development) campers helped the city get ready for the annual Festival on the Trails. In preparation for the festival with more than 11,000 expected visitors, campers helped set up festival structures and learned firsthand about all the planning and hours of work that make large-scale community events possible. L.E.A.D. campers and staff are pictured below preparing the sidewalk for the event.

Gardner, Kansas L.E.A.D. campers help get the community ready for a festival.

 

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learn more about: Afterschool Ambassadors Summer Learning
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JUN
18

STEM
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Digging into research with new resources & webinars!

By Melissa Ballard

We’re excited to announce the release of a new resource from our friends at the Research + Practice Collaboratory—the Connected Collection! Each collection synthesizes of-the-moment science education topics and comes with a bundle of research briefs that provide multiple cases, examples, and ongoing challenges for busy professionals to consider as they seek to improve learning environments for youth. The Connected Collection emerged from our work on the Relating Research to Practice project as a practical tool that out-of-school-time practitioners could use to help expand their own thinking, shape program structure and guide the professional development of staff.

What’s ready for you now:

 Coming up:

  1. Gender Equity
  2. Interest and Identity
  3. STEM Practices
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learn more about: Science
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JUN
17

RESEARCH
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Summer learning infographic: Summer learning matters!

By Nikki Yamashiro

Our new infographic—the fourth in our America After 3PM infographic series—is a simple and visually compelling way to share just-released America After 3PM findings. It reveals that participation in summer learning programs has increased over the past five years and that demand among parents for these programs is high. The infographic illustrates the learning loss that happens during the summer months and the re-teaching that takes place when the school year begins in the fall, the high demand for summer learning programs, and the value both parents and teachers see in summer learning programs to support student success. 

Help us spread the word that children and families need more summer learning opportunities! Post, tweet or pin any or all of our summer infographics that highlight why summer learning matters, that parents want summer learning opportunities for their children and the strong support that exists for summer learning programs

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learn more about: America After 3PM Summer Learning
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