Concerned about the digital divide for students? Many cable providers, such as Comcast and Spectrum, are offering free or reduced cost internet access to low income families. Check with your local provider to see what options exist for your community.
As schools and afterschool programs have closed, we’ve heard from many folks looking for engaging online activities for young people.
With the quick transition from in-person learning to virtual classrooms, school districts are having to quickly adapt or even create new policies and guidance on how educators and students should conduct themselves in this new virtual learning environment. The first step you should take to determine how you can engage young people online is to check the school district for guidance.
Transitioning to Remote Learning
When schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Horton's Kids – a 21st CCLC program - quickly shifted their focused to build a virtual learning plan that emphasized face-to-face interactions with students.
Creating A Remote Learning Plan
Horton's Kids Elementary Program Director Shandell Richards explains how her team approached designing a remote learning plan - starting with what they knew and building out capacity in phases
Using Social Media for Remote Learning
To meet students where they were at, Horton's Kids pivoted to using social media platforms kids were already comfortable with to continue to support learning after schools closed.
Ensuring cybersecurity and student privacy
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released a comprehensive document on privacy considerations for virtual learning. Afterschool educators should reference this document, along with your school district policies on student safety, when planning to engage students in a virtual environment.
Cybersecurity Considerations in a COVID-19 World (While not written for afterschool, many of the recommendations apply for organizations that may be shifting to a virtual learning environment.)
Tools for Parents
Tools for Educators
This project of the American Association of Museums features nearly 900 virtual lessons and projects from museums across the United States. Lessons focus on a wide array of topics, including history, STEM, literacy, art, and civics.
Social distancing does not social isolation – there are still many opportunities for youth to engage in service. Youth Service America curated a collection of resources to help students think through safe service learning projects.
Outschool, a platform for online schooling for k-12 students, has a wealth of PD resources for educators to utilize to understand how to effectively engage over a virtual platform/
This public Facebook group from Outschool provides a community for new virtual educators to get support and help from experienced virtual educators.
Video conference platforms & virtual classrooms
Wide Open Classroom has resources for setting up a virtual classroom, including free distance learning plans and tools organized by grade-level and subject.
Online Activities and Curricula
Statewide Network for New Jersey's Afterschool Communities
The NJSACC Virtual Afterschool Resource Guide is a collection of activities and resources for afterschool educators, curated by NJSACC staff members.Added 4/14/20
American Youth Policy Forums
The America Youth Policy Forum has seeded a list of tools and resources designed for traditionally underserved youth, spanning resources from online learning for students with disabilities and Spanish-speaking families, to supports for meals, medicine, and shelter.Added 4/14/20
The Resource Center
View a collection of 1,800+ FREE resources curated by BOOST (the Best of Out-of-School Time) and sorted by grade level and category.Added 3/30/20
American Federation of Teachers
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has created a listing of 41 free online educational resources includingh learning platforms that can be used at home or by afterschool or care providers, as well as tools for managing engagement with youth. It is sortable by age group; most are free.Added 3/30/20
We've put together a list of some of our favorite STEM activities and curriculum to help keep both students and adults engaged during these times.Added 3/30/20
Brain Pop, an education platform used by teachers to supplement learning in the classroom, has made all its content free to educators and families whose children are out of school due to COVID-19. Units typically include a video, one or more activities, and an online game and quiz to test knowledge. Content spans K-8 and English Language Learners. A study of Bain Pop met the moderate evidence level of impact under the education law ESSA.Added 3/26/20
Khan Academy, the free online math learning site, has added live streams on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET each weekday for students, parents, and teachers navigating school closures, and has created several guides for parents and teachers.Added 3/26/20
TED-Ed has created a new resource for K-college students, parents and teachers affected by the pandemic, to offer high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons on a daily basis, for free, via email.Added 3/26/20
Scholastic has created free weekly sets of resources to support families and educators during the outbreak for students from PreK-grade 9. Learn at Home provides 20 days of activities. Each activity includes two digital books to read, a related video and an activity. Currently two weeks of materials are posted, with more to come.Added 3/26/20
Alliance for a Healthier Generation's free, evidence-based resources support the physical, social, and emotional health of children and their caregivers, including out-of-school time staff. Action for Healthy Kids has compiled a diverse list of resources that support physical activity, nutritious eating, and mindfulness.
PBS KIDS for Parents has a list of 8 indoor activities that kids can participate in to be physically active at home. Joe Wicks, a YouTube fitness instructor, has dedicated himself to livestreaming child-friendly workouts every weekday in a P.E with Joe series, in response to knowing that many children no longer have access to PE. Playworks also has a Play at Home Playbook with activities that children can participate in at home, along with livestreamed recess throughout the week!
DC Scores has also created a curriculum to keep kids' minds and bodies active, which include activities that focus on soccer and writing. For parents of young athletes, Aspen Institute's Project Play has a list of virtual training opportunities available to youth athletes.
USDA ChooseMyPlate has a list of tips for food planning during a pandemic. In addition, they have cooking-based nutrition activities for children aged 8-12 and nutrition-focused activities that the entire family can participate in.
For more cooking at home, the Washington Post has an article on how to cook for and with your kids during the extended coronavirus school closures. The Academy of Culinary Nutrition also has a list of the top 25 kid-friendly food blogs.
Resources for talking with youth about the outbreak
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): Guide for Helping Kids Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19
- NY Times: teaching, learning, and thinking critically about the novel coronavirus
- PBS News Hour Extra, a site with news for students and resources for educators grades 6-12, has a number of current event lesson plans and videos related to the pandemic: Coronavirus resources for grades 6-12.
- PBS Kids guide for talking to younger kids about the coronavirus
- Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility: SEL Tips for this Moment
- Brain POP lesson and activities on the new coronavirus – includes a video, activities, games, related reading.
Importance of Including Afterschool in School Reopening Plans07/30/20
When schools reopen this fall, it won't be business as usual. New health and safety standards developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate a radical rethinking of the way we serve students.Watch
Virtual Town Hall: #Afterschoolworks to Support Learning & Recovery05/28/20
The National Town Hall celebrates the many ways afterschool programs have risen to the moment to help their communities respond to the pandemic, and looks ahead toward afterschool and summer learning programs' critical role in recovery. Read the follow-up Q&A document here.Watch
Facing Inequity with Youth and Families During the COVID-19 Era05/07/20
The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing and widening existing social justice gaps in education broadly and out-of-school time is no exception. Given this unprecedented time, we focus on real-time approaches that afterschool and summer learning programs can use to move the needle on issues of equity and access.Watch
Safely Engaging Youth in a Virtual World04/23/20
With the quick transition from in-person to virtual learning environments, afterschool providers are quickly adapting to serve young people in this new virtual world. But sifting through all of the resources that have flooded the field can be a tough task. Instead, we can learn from experts who have years of experience preparing educators to engage students in a virtual environment.Watch
Policy Supports for Afterschool and Summer Programs during the Pandemic04/21/20
State and federal legislation and guidance around education, child care, human services, and child nutrition policy are rapidly changing under the COVID-19 pandemic. As these policies and guidance shift, it is critical to keep track of where things stand and what's coming up.Watch
How Federal COVID-19 Response Bills can Support Afterschool Opportunities04/09/20
Many afterschool providers are struggling to provide opportunities for young people and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and financial assistance and flexibility is often needed. We will talk through opportunities included in the three major COVID-19 response bills, as well as a glimpse into what’s proposed for next round of legislation.Watch