In the United States, approximately one in three children ages two to 19 is overweight or obese. Organizations such as the Healthy Out-Of-School Time (HOST) Coalition, RTI International (RTI) and the National Afterschool Association (NAA) have implemented standards to promote a healthy lifestyle among our nation's young people.
All educators share a common desire to support the social and emotional development of their students, yet the approaches taken by afterschool and in-school educators when pursuing this goal differ. The American Institute for Research (AIR) has created several briefs addressing how all educators could help students succeed in school, work and life. AIR's most recent brief on this topic suggests ways that afterschool and in-school educators could work together to support the social and emotional development of their student body.
The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is calling all students in grades five through eight for another year of groundbreaking science exploration. This exciting competition encourages students to apply critical thinking to solve a real-world problem and communicate their idea through a video submission. Discovery Education has worked with NAA to develop specific resources to help afterschool professionals implement the Young Scientist Challenge with youth in their programs.
In a Web search for the word STEM, Google returns more than 200 million results. STEM today is a hot topic and Web pages are being created at a frenetic pace, which can be quite overwhelming for users. Websites may have outdated information, be difficult to navigate and, occasionally, even provide bad information. Your time is precious, so to help you navigate the World Wide Web of STEM information I am providing my current pick of some of the best STEM resources available today.
I was born in Washington state and spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by Seattle Seahawks fans. In 2006, I moved to the East Coast and married into a family who bleeds the green of the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then, I've had two favorite bird teams. The past couple of years have been especially interesting, not only because these two bird teams have gone head to head several times, but because of the focus on the leadership provided by the coaches of each organization.
The Partnership for Afterschool Education (PASE), recognizes the crucial role afterschool programs play in fostering young people's intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual growth. The organization works toward improving the quality of afterschool programs for children and teens living in poverty.
The afterschool space is more than just a safe place for students to wait for caregivers to pick them up. It's where you can challenge students and help them learn skills in multiple areas. As you work on improving and growing your program, consider the following areas as a framework for organizing your space and your curriculum to bring out the best in your afterschool students.
An innovative guide called "Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social & Emotional Learning" has been launched in an effort to help afterschool programs across the country bring social and emotional skill development to the youth they serve.
Providing high-quality STEM learning is bigger than simply presenting hands-on activities. The goal is to create an atmosphere of discovery where kids are engaged in creative and critical thinking. Asking good questions is an important part of creating the right environment. Through intentional questioning you can stretch young peoples' curiosity, reasoning ability, creativity, and independence.
Positive behavior begins and ends with relationships—not with the rules. While systems and guidelines can provide structure for young people, cultivating an environment of meaningful connections between staff and youth creates a culture where positive behavior is part of the ongoing learning and development of youth.