Five afterschool quality focus briefs include:
School-age children, especially those between the ages of four and twelve, want engaging places to spend their time out-of-school. Parents want to know their children are learning and safe afterschool. With over 70% of parents in the workforce, afterschool is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Identifying and Improving Quality Programs
All children benefit from quality afterschool and summer programs. These programs not only ensure children are in safe and supervised places after the school day or school year ends, but also provides opportunities to play, experiment and be creative. Afterschool programs and providers become trusted members of a child’s extended family, and can be the consistent bridge from year to year, teacher to teacher and school to school throughout a child’s life.
The role afterschool plays in communities across the country has changed over the past decade. Years ago, first aid qualification and an interest in working with kids was considered adequate professional preparation for staff at drop-in homework help and enrichment programs. The quality standards and assessment tools adopted by 30 states demand a workforce with different knowledge, skills and experience.
Funding Quality Initiatives
The landscape of afterschool programs and providers is complex. Within a community, and certainly within a state, there exists a mix of free and tuition-based afterschool and summer programs. While some programs offer a comprehensive mix of academic enrichment, recreation and social-emotional learning activities, others focus on a single area or discipline, offering coaching in a particular sport or instruction in the visual or performing arts. Regardless of the type and cost of the programs, parents are united by the desire of knowing their children are in safe and quality environments for during out-of-school hours.
Afterschool Quality Matters: A Call to Action
Expectations for afterschool programs are high. Mounting evidence and research confirms the power of afterschool and summer programs to close achievement gaps, increase third grade reading proficiency and improve community outcomes. However, the field cannot achieve these outcomes without quality programs staffed by highly qualified professionals.
The State of Afterschool Quality Focus Briefs Media Toolkit
As the membership organization representing the afterschool workforce, NAA is excited to re-energize a national conversation about program and practitioner quality through this set of Focus Briefs. This social and new media toolkit not only provides guidance and tools to help you raise awareness on the importance of improving afterschool quality and provider professionalism, but also includes social and new media best practices that can be used for any event or issue.