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Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

The Enrichment Zone—Free Curriculum to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Looking to help youth get on a pathway to living a healthy, active lifestyle? The National Afterschool Association and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation are here to help!

Together, they are providing the "Enrichment Zone," a free curriculum for afterschool programs focused on promoting energy balance. The Enrichment Zone resources explain to students the concepts of "Energy In" (food and nutrition-related activities) and "Energy Out" (physical activities). It focuses particularly on the "Energy Out" aspect to help afterschool programs guarantee students get the daily sixty minutes of physical activity as recommended by the NAA HEPA (Healthy Eating and Physical Activity) Standards.

The Enrichment Zone was created to be used by afterschool professionals within their existing programs. The curriculum offers fun, playful, motivational, and age-appropriate activities designed specifically for grades pre-K to five. Although these activities are educational and nutrition- or fitness-oriented, they are more informal than a school-day lesson plan. Many encourage free-form outdoor play and teach fun games that incorporate physical activity and can be easily replicated at home.

Physical activities such as hopscotch and Mother, May I are free, and fun for all ages. The activities also include suggestions for affordable, healthful snacks that come with a lesson. In one lesson, students taste test a variety of beans, while learning about the vegetable's benefits. The activity could easily be repeated with dozens of other fruit and veggie varieties. In another snack activity, students learn about geometry by constructing shapes out of toothpicks, grapes, and cheese cubes.

The lesson plans are detailed, informative, and easy to follow. They can be used as a full program, with forty-five-minute sessions a few times a week for six weeks, or by using the individual pieces of the curriculum that best fit the needs of youth. It's intended to be flexible and customizable for afterschool programs of all kinds.

Sound like something that could benefit your after school program? Be sure to check out the Enrichment Zone curriculum for grades K-2 and 3-5, and visit the Together Counts website for more information, the complete curriculum, bonus activities, and certificates of achievement for when your students finish the program. Click here for more information about the NAA HEPA Standards.

k-2-enrichment-zone Grades K-2 Enrichment Zone Curriculum
Click here to download.
3-5-enrichment-zone Grades 3-5 Enrichment Zone Curriculum
Click here to download.