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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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Research shows the benefits of early childhood programs

By Leah Silverberg

Over the years, research surrounding participation in early childhood programs—such as preschool, home visiting programs, and parent education programs—has continuously shown improved outcomes for children and families. A research report from RANDInvesting Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs, reinforces the connection between early childhood programs and short- and long-term benefits for children’s health, behavior, and cognitive achievement, and upholds that investment in effective programs can often lead to increased financial return in the long run.  

Early childhood programs exist in a network of supports for children and families that include afterschool and summer programs. Focusing on children from the prenatal period up to age five and their families, these early childhood programs included in this study encompass a breadth of support systems from prenatal parenting classes to early care and education programs for toddlers.

To conduct their study, RAND examined 115 programs with existing rigorous evaluations, and found that the majority of early childhood programs lead to positive child outcomes. Considering the wide array of early childhood programming available, the outcomes measured by this study and its evaluations reflect that diversity, which include examining behavior and emotions, cognitive achievement, short- and long-term health, educational attainment, future employment, and more.  



Advice from the experts on successful campaigning for HEPA

By Julie Keller

Last month, Voices for Healthy Kids brought together advocates of Early Childhood Education (ECE) to dive into the science, messaging, and best practice campaign approaches for advancing healthy eating, physical activity, and decreased screen time in ECE.

Here are a few snapshots of what was discussed and how out-of-school time (OST) advocates can take the next steps for advancing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) state-level policy:

Leveraging the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP)

The US Department of Agriculture has updated the CACFP to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. These revised meal patterns include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The CACFP may be able to reimburse participating organizations up to $1,400 annually per child!

Next steps: Contact your state agency to check your organization’s eligibility for participation. If you are already participating, use this flyer to help promote and educate non-participating childcare centers about the benefits of CACFP.



How to bring older adult volunteers into youth-serving organizations

By Elizabeth Tish

“Every child deserves a web of support, and every older adult has something to give.”

That is the motto of the Generation to Generation (Gen2Gen) campaign, a national effort launched by to inspire adults over 50 to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth. By dismantling the age barriers between generations and connecting youth and children to older adults through positive, everyday interactions, Gen2Gen aims to improve the lives of people across the age spectrum: empowering older adults to give back to their communities and rebuilding the villages that raise our children.

As personal testimonies and research point to benefits for kids and older adults alike, intergenerational friendships and interactions present themselves as a path to creating closer-knit and happier communities. In particular, informal learning and childcare programs stand to benefit from an invested, diverse cohort of volunteers—making afterschool programs prime opportunities to bring senior volunteers into the lives of school-age children.

Are you interested in getting involved with the campaign? Here are a few ways get started: