|Movement Experiences for Children|
|Instructor:||Dr. Shannon S.D. Bredin|
|Important Course Pages|
After School Programming (ASP) is any organized programs that involves children, youth, and young adolescent participating in various kinds of activities outside of the traditional school time. Programs include sports, performing arts, creative arts, academic clubs, outdoor education, and other extracurricular activities. These activities are run by adults or professionals and housed in safe, and inclusive environment, such as community centers, local schools, and other non-profit or commercial facilities. ASP provides opportunities for youth to experience with leaderships and interact with other peers; moreover, it leads youth to positive behaviors (Eccles et al., 1999)
- 1 Goals and Focuses of Activities
- 2 History
- 3 Benefits
- 3.1 Provide Additional Developments
- 3.2 Promote Positive Behavior Adjustment
- 3.3 Improve Physical Activity Levels
- 3.4 Enhance children's academic achievement
- 3.5 Support children's social development and their relationships with adults and peers
- 3.6 Keep children from committing crimes, and may prevent them from being the victim of violent crime
- 3.7 Strengthen schools, families, and communities
- 4 Things to Consider
- 5 Practical Application
- 6 References
Goals and Focuses of Activities
The fundamental goal of ASP is to provide a safe and structured environment with adult supervision for youths after school period while parents are unavailable (Halpern, 2002). However, there is another more popular goal for ASP, which is to facilitate the development of one or more personal or social skills in children, youths, and adolescents (Bohnert, Durlak, Mahoney, & Parente, 2010). These skills include a variety of skills, such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, self-control, leadership, responsible decision-making, and enhancement of competency, self-efficacy and self-esteem (Durlak & Weissberg, 2007). The focus of activities, therefore, can be categorized into several general types: prosocial, physical activities, team sports, school involvement, creative arts, performing arts and academic clubs (Eccles et al., 1999).
- Prosocial, including outdoor education, church and volunteer activities, provides the opportunity to develop positive social skills and individual character, and reduce the likelihood of risky behavior.
- Physical activities, including any physical activity, such as running, stretching, and yoga, improve children’s health, self-confidence and relationships.
- Team sports, including any sports, such as soccer, baseball, hockey, basketball, and swimming, provide opportunities for children to experience leadership, and adapt cooperative behavior and positive habits.
- School involvement, including the student council and pep club, improves the social skills, leadership, and fondness of attending school.
- Creative arts, including painting, drawing, and crafts, help children express and share their thoughts with others (Canadian Active After School Partnership, n.d.).
- Performing arts, including dance, drama, ballet, and choir, provides the opportunity to express oneself, and gain self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Academic clubs, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other academic subjects, improves the academic outcomes and grades.
Cram Culture in Asia
Although there are also ASP advocating the development of personal and social skills in children, youths, and adolescents, the most popular goal for ASP in most Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, is mostly about achieving better academic outcomes (Lin et al., 2009). It is because of the “testing culture” that parents are much more concerned about the grades than other types of development (Zhou et al., 2006). For instance, there are the High School Entrance Exam, the College Entrance Exam, and English language exams; moreover, people who failed to attend high school, or university would be deemed as unsuccessful (Zhou et al., 2006). No parents would like to see their children being unsuccessful, so a unique type of academic ASP is created: cram school.
Cram school is the private facilities that urge students to study hard outside of school time. Cram is derived from the slang term “cramming”, which means to study a large amount of material in a short period of time. Generally, it operates as a studying center for passing exams, where students from different schools can attend in the same class according to exams or their grade levels. Cram school is not the same in all the countries; for example, attending cram school in Taiwan is not entirely about passing examinations but also about excelling in other extracurricular subjects, such as music, arts, and sports. It is a traditional belief that sending children to cram school is the only way for children to compete with peers (Liu, 2012).
After School Programming emerged as a result of the formation of formal education, in conjunction with the drastic changes which limited children’s participation in the labour force (Mahoney, Parente, & Zigler, 2009). Numerous groups such as the Children’s Bureau, labor unions, and religious groups worked tirelessly in order to end child labour by instating laws which eliminated the use of children for dangerous labor. Simultaneously, in the late 1800’s education laws were passed which made it mandatory for all children to attend school and receive a formal education (et al, 2009). The creation of universal, compulsory education led to an extended period of discretionary time during the after school hours for children (et al, 2009). This fact, coupled with the decrease in child labor, led to what is described as a “distinct childhood culture” resulting from the larger period between childhood/adolescence and the transition to early adulthood (et al, 2009). Drop-in after school centers, first called “boys’ clubs,” appeared in the latter part of the 1800's to fill this idle time. The turn of the century, however, brought with it the idea that more structured play activities would be beneficial for children’s growth and development (et al, 2009). As a result, ASP were subsequently created with mission statements and purposes beyond those of basic child care; that being to provide developmental supports to working families, build children’s social and academic competencies, and promote childhood movement experiences.
ASPs have been carried and promoted by a number of organizations across Canada since 1800s. These organizations have contributed to the development of the large variety of ASPs in Canada.
YMCA in Canada
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was one of the first major organizations in 1800s offering structured play to children and youths in Canada. In 1851, the first YMCA in Canada started in Montreal with the goal of bringing Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy body, mind, and spirit (YMCA Canada, n.d.). Since 1866, a variety of physical activities have been introduced and included in YMCA’s programs. These activities include indoor exercise, wrestling, fencing, track and field, swimming, football, baseball, lacrosse, and gymnastics. In addition to the existing sports back then, YMCA invented basketball and volleyball in the end of 1800s to encourage more people to pursue healthy lifestyles and to stretch their spirit, mind, and body (YMCA Canada, n.d.). Today, YMCA has helped numerous children and young men develop leadership and build strong character through their programs.
Boys and Girls Club of Canada
Boys and Girls Club of Canada was one of the earliest organizations that provides after school program services to children and youths. Its mission is to help young people grow into healthy, confident, and contributing adults (Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, n.d.). It was first created in 1900 as “Every Day Club” with a simple goal of providing safe place to play for children who had no place to go after school in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. As the organization grew larger and spread across the country, it was first renamed as “East End Boys’ Club of Saint John” and later “Boys and Girls Club of Canada”. In 1948, the Club received its official charter as a national, non-profit organization from parliament (Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, n.d.). The Club have provided safe, caring environments, and stimulating programs for millions of young Canadians, ranging in age from pre-school to young adulthood. More precisely, the Club program provides places for children and youths to connect with friends, play sports and physical activities, receive academic support, receive employment support, and obtain skills and career training (Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, n.d.).
Canadian Active After School Partnership
Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP) is a recently built initiative around 2000s that aims to enhance the delivery of quality after-school programs. CAASP establishes a program delivery framework that involves six to nine large organizations across Canada and many other local organizations that have interests in the after school time period; these include all levels of government, non-profit and for profit organizations, such as National Association of Friendship Centres, PHE Canada, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Active Living Alliance, and Leisure Information Network (Canadian Active After School Partnership, n.d.). The ultimate goal for this initiative is to increase physical activity level and healthy eating practices of Canada’s children and youth (Canadian Active After School Partnership, n.d.). Through collaborations, organizations can share experiences and resources; thus, children and youths across Canada can have more well-designed ASP and be more physically active. In practice, CAASP provides online shared experience, online training programs and online information of various activities available across Canada. In BC, ASP initiatives are managed by DASH BC and the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) (Canadian Active After School Partnership, n.d.).
Provide Additional Developments
There has been a tremendous increase in recognition regarding the benefits of quality after school programming. Because such programs offer an array of activities not always available during the traditional school day, these programs give students many opportunities for growth and learning that otherwise would be unachievable (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003). For example, at a time when many schools have had to cut or reduce spending on art and music programs, after school programs can offer kids the opportunity to paint, draw, perform in a dramatic production, play music, participate in a dance performance, visit museums, etc (Durlak & Weissberg, 2007). There is growing evidence that children who attend after school programs do better in school, and are safer and less likely to get into trouble in the hours after the end of the school day (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003). As such, after school programming stresses the importance of promoting the social, emotional, and physical development of the children they serve.
Promote Positive Behavior Adjustment
Meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to enhance the personal and social development of children and adolescents indicated that youth improved in three general areas: feelings and attitudes, indicators of behavioral adjustment, and school performance (Durlak, & Weissberg, 2010). More specifically, significant increases occurred in youths’ self-perceptions and bonding to school, their positive social behaviors, and in their school grades and level of academic achievement. At the same time, significant reductions occurred in problem behaviors. (Durlak, & Weissberg, 2010).
Improve Physical Activity Levels
After school programs that include a physical activity component are shown to be positively associated with improving physical activity levels, physical fitness, body composition, and blood lipid profiles of children and young adolescents (Beets et al., 2009). Attending ASPs is an effective way for children and young adolescent to promote health-enhancing physical activities. Furthermore, ASPs that include a physical activity components may also contribute to the prevention and reduction of the likelihood of childhood obesity (Beets et al., 2009).
Enhance children's academic achievement
Participants in after school programs (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003):
- show increased interest and ability in reading develop new skills and interests Benefits
- show improved school attendance, increased engagement in school, and reduced dropout rate submit higher quality homework
- are held back or placed in special education classes less frequently
- show higher aspirations for the future, including intention to complete high school and attend post secondary education.
- Children who participate in after school programs behave better in school, have more developed social skills, and show more self-confidence as a result of the caring relationships they develop with instructors and other students in their programs (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003).
Keep children from committing crimes, and may prevent them from being the victim of violent crime
- According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the hours immediately after school dismissal are when young people are the most likely to commit or be victimized by serious criminal acts. (The FBI: Federal Bereau of Investigation, (1992). In fact, the juvenile crime rate triples between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. After school programs can offer a safe and enjoyable place for young people who might otherwise find themselves in dangerous and unsupervised situations (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003)..
Strengthen schools, families, and communities
- Research has shown that communities that use a community-based, collaborative approach to improving after school programs, are more likely to develop their own local leadership and the infrastructure needed to sustain these programs. Once members of a community see that they have the ability to work together to make positive changes, they can apply this skill to other pressing community concerns. A community where various members support and care for each other is a healthier community for everyone (Hall, Tolman, Wilson, & Yohalem, 2003).
Things to Consider
Despite the growing demand for after school programming there are still a number of barriers which hinder their advancement. In a survey conducted in 200 public schools, teachers were asked to state the top barriers to participation in after school programs. (Fashola, 2002) The list of these barriers are as follows.
- Lack of finances
- Lack of parental support
- Academics are seen as more important (no time for anything other than school work)
- Bad experiences in school based Physical Education which discourages the participant
- Increase in sedentary activities such as video games, cell phone/ computer use, and television
Attendance and Engagement
Attendance is one of the two elements for participants in ASPs to receive the program related effects. Studies had shown that children with regular participations tended to have more program related effects than the children with sporadic participations (Mahoney et al., 2007). That means in order for an observable effect to appear, there has to have a certain amount of time commitment from participants. An example is that children with regular attendance to an ASP for physical activities had shown to be less likely to be obese than the ones did not attend regularly (Mahoney et al., 2007). Engagement is another element for receiving the program-related effects, and is relatively more important than attendance. Engagement means high amounts of attention, interest, effort, and enjoyment that occur during the process of learning (Mahoney et al., 2007). It can be seen as two levels: individual and program. While individual level displays a specific child’s behavior over a specified time, program level represents the overall behavior of all attending children. An activity needs to maintain high level of program engagement for obtaining the program-related effects because engagement has been conceptualized as a direct amount of interaction with the social environment (Mahoney et al., 2007). Therefore, engagement is deemed critical to facilitating program‐related benefits.
Risks of Over Scheduling
There has been a growing concern among parents and educators who worry that children are being asked to do too much, too soon (Fox, 2005). Due to the increase in After School programming, concerns have been raised as to whether children may be participating in too many organized activities. Research suggest that there has been an increase in the amount of, stress, and pressure in the lives of children brought on, in part, because of their involvement in said activities. (Durlak, & Weissberg, 2010). This suggests that an over-scheduling of organized activity participation may undermine family functioning and the well-being of children. As a result, Jacquelynne Eccles, Angel Harris, and Joseph Mahoney, developed the over-scheduling hypothesis which synthesizes the possible negative effects associated with overscheduling children (Eccles, Harris, & Mahoney, 2006). With respect to organized activities, the over-scheduling hypothesis is based on three interrelated propositions. First, the motivation for participation in organized activities is viewed as extrinsic. Youth are seen as taking part in a variety of activities because of the perceived pressure from parents or other adults to achieve and attain long-term educational and career goals such as getting into a post secondary school, and achieving some sort of scholarship (Eccles, Harris, & Mahoney, 2006). Second, the time commitment required of children and parents to participate in organized activities is believed to be so extensive that traditional family activities such as dinnertime, family outings, and even simple discussions between parents and children are sacrificed (et al, 2006). Finally, owing to the assumed pressures from parents, coupled with the extensive time commitment and disruption of family functioning, children devoting high amounts of time to organized activity participation are thought to be at risk for developing adjustment problems and poor relationships with parents (et al, 2006). As such, over-scheduling can be detrimental to the optimal development of young people and their families and should be considered when enrolling children in after school programming.
The 9 Key Elements of Effective After School Programming
As stated by the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon (2013), there are 9 Key Elements which characterize an effective after school program. Taking into consideration the need for quality after school programming, these 9 elements would be highly beneficial to any organization wishing to implement a new program, or make modifications to a current program. In addition, these elements are highly beneficial if you are a parent wishing to enroll your child into an after school program, or if you are an instructor wishing to seek employment with a specific organization. The 9 elements are as follows: (Key Elements of Effective ASTP Programs, 2013).
- Program Content- The content of an after school program is crucial in order to provide the maximum success of the participant. When planning and implementing the content of an ASP various factors must be considered, such as the demographic of the community, the age and skill of the participant, as well as the desired goals and outcomes of the program. Once these factors are identified, the content of the program can be developed in order that the participants may achieve these goals.
- Safety- Ensuring the physical and emotional health and safety of the participant is a critical component which aids in the development of the participant, as well as the overall quality of the program. “Safety” includes having programs that are free of violence, abuse, and harassment. This includes welcoming participants of all abilities, backgrounds, and genders.
- Monitoring and Evaluation- Allows the program to be regularly assessed, controlled, and adjusted. Every program will have differing objectives but there is no way of telling whether the program is successful if they are not monitored or measured in some way. In doing this it ensures that the program is purposeful, measurable, and flexible enough to accommodate the needs and interests of the participant.
- Instructor/ Supervisor Training- Ensuring that leaders are trained and able to instruct participants is a simple way to ensure the quality of the program. Without adequate training, instructors will not posses the skills needed in order to instruct the participants. Training provides the instructors/ supervisors the knowledge and understanding of the developmental characteristics of the participants which will lead to a highly successful after school program.
- Increasing Access/ Reducing Barriers- Programs must be inclusive of all participants regardless of their socioeconomic status, whether their aims are recreational or competitive, and whether they have a disability or not. A successful program will increase access by removing or reducing barriers which limit the maximum participation of the participant.
- Blended Programs- A quality blended program consists of a variety of activities, including physical activity, socialization, an academic component, as well as an allocated time for food and refreshments.
- Engagement and Leadership- Quality after school programming should teach participants the fundamentals of leadership and social engagement. Children who are involved in such programs are less likely to become disengaged and anti-social.
- Facilities- Research suggests that school based or on site facilities, as well as community operated recreational facilities are the best place to host after school programming. In doing this it eliminates concerns such as: hazards within the program environment, responsibility for travel, costs associated with transportation, as well as other numerous safety concerns.
- Social Marketing and Messaging- After school programming provides children with positive social and health benefits. Social marketing is a key portion of after school programming because of its ability to make individuals aware of the benefits of after school programming. In doing so it notifies and motivates the target audience of the benefits which the program offers, and provides a means of engaging funders who would otherwise be unaware of the program and its potential benefits to the community.
10 Most Fundamental Considerations When Selecting Activities for After School
Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP) provides several tips and tricks, and successful experiences for designing or planning an after school program. Below is the list of the 10 most fundamental considerations when selecting activities for after school (Canadian Active After School Partnership, n.d.).
- The Activity is Safe – Safety of an activity contains three factors: physical, emotional, and social factors. Before starting an activity, the equipment should be checked to see if it is in good condition, and the environment should be scanned for potential hazards. For socio-emotional safety; an inappropriate activity type would be the ones that promote harassment or discrimination. Activities that focus on cooperation rather than competition and social comparison would be the suitable choices. Lastly, rules and objectives must be understood by all participants to avoid potential harm.
- The Activity is Age and Developmentally Appropriate – Since the maturity levels and capacities of participants differ individually, it is important to ensure that activities are developmentally appropriate for all participants. All participants should be engaged, feel capable of completing the activity, and not feel overwhelmed.
- The Activity is Inclusive – Keep in mind that there is diversity in gender, ability, language, culture, and socio-economic background. Therefore, activity selections should consider those criteria, and be inclusive or can be adapted to be inclusive. Activities that can allow individuals of varying ability to succeed are appropriate.
- The Activity Supports Respect and Cooperation – Activities should foster positive interaction amongst participants. That means activities should require participants to work towards a common goal, and share resources. Moreover, activities should encourage positive interpersonal communication.
- The Activity Supports Positive Leadership – Being able to positively role model skills is a valuable way to teach leadership. Activities should occasionally provide opportunities for participants to take on leadership roles, such as referee, and team captain. These opportunities can build self-esteem and allow active staff engagement.
- The Activity is Time Appropriate – An activity should not last longer than the participants’ engagement window. It is for avoiding distractedness, behavioral incidents, and an aversion to the activity in future. Activities should keep people engaged all the time until it ends.
- The Activity Develops Specific Desired Outcomes – An activity should include components of learning and accomplishment and afford all participants the opportunity to develop a new skill or take on a particular task. Activities should allow participants to demonstrate their understanding of the desired outcome.
- The Activity Supports Relationship Development – Relationships include peer-to-peer, participant to staff, staff to staff, and staff to parent. Activities should foster respect, cooperation, familiarity, and inclusion; moreover, activities should provide opportunities to problem-solve, work as a team, communicate, and build community
- The Activity Offers Variety – Participants have different physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs; therefore, it is necessary to provide a variety of choices for them to improve the personal needs and their quality of life. Activities should be able to stimulate multiple needs or support multiple outcomes.
- The Activity is Fun! – Fun is essential for participant satisfaction and engagement. Fun include several factors, such as enjoyment, humour, creative expression, imagination, and curiosity. An activity should foster one or more fun factors through positive and supportive engagement.
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