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  • Keys to Quality Afterschool:

    Environments, Relationships,

    and Experiences

    A Best Practices Guide

    Laurie Ollhoff and Jim Ollhoff

    with additional narrative by

    Roberta Newman

  • Keys to Quality Afterschool:

    Environments, Relationships,

    and Experiences

    A Best Practices Guide

    Laurie Ollhoff and Jim Ollhoff

    with additional narrative by

    Roberta Newman

  • Keys to Quality Afterschool: Environments, Relationships, and Experiences A Best Practices Guide Copyright © 2012 Published by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333 Reproduction of these materials in whole or in part is allowed for educational purposes only (not for profit) providing permission is granted by the authors and the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Once permission is granted, an acknowledgement statement must include the following: ―Reprinted with permission from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, a joint office of the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare, and Sparrow Media Group.‖ Sparrow Media Group 16588 Fieldcrest Avenue Farmington, MN 55024 www.sparrowmediagroup.com Funding for this project was provided by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, a joint office of the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare. Acknowledgements Special thanks are extended to the following individuals for their contributions to the development of these materials: Carmen Gatti Patricia Hess Southeastern PA SACC Project Montgomery Early Learning Centers 201 Sabine Avenue Narberth, PA 19072 Leslie A. Roesler Betsy Saatman Pennsylvania Key 301 Market Street Harrisburg, PA 17101

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction............................................................................................................................. 1

    Chapter 1: Examining Perspectives on Out-of-School Time .......................................... 3

    Chapter 2: Children‘s Development .................................................................................. 19

    Chapter 3: Health and Safety .............................................................................................. 35

    Chapter 4: Schedules, Programming, and Transitions .................................................... 49

    Chapter 5: Using Environments to Support Children .................................................... 63

    Chapter 6: Using Relationships to Support Children ...................................................... 77

    Chapter 7: Using Experiences to Support Children ........................................................ 89

    Chapter 8: Promoting Staff Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication............. 101

    Chapter 9: Families, Host Facilities, and Community Resources ................................ 113

    Chapter 10: Seven Social Skills ......................................................................................... 129

    About the Authors ............................................................................................................. 147

    General Resources .............................................................................................................. 149

  • Keys to Quality Afterschool: Environments, Relationships and Experiences Page | 1

    Introduction

    When school-age practitioners view themselves as professionals who facilitate the growth and development of children in partnership with families, everyone benefits. The practitioners benefit from an enhanced sense of professionalism when they take pride and ownership of the environments they create for children and families. Families benefit from the relationships established with the practitioners who care for their children. Children benefit when practitioners work with families to provide for their varied and ongoing needs through experiences and opportunities.

    School-age practitioners can and do positively impact the lives of school-age children and their families. Sharing a warm greeting daily, transitioning children from school to out-of-school time to home, offering positive stories about the child‘s development and learning, and sharing ideas about how to cope with challenges all help to create an atmosphere of caring about each other and build support and respect.

    Working with school-age children is not always easy. Practitioners are always searching for resources that will support the environments they create for children; the relationships they build with families, children, the community and each other; and the experiences they provide for the children in their care.

    Structure

    These terms have been used synonymously throughout this document:

     School-Age Care

     Out-of-School Time

     Afterschool Care

     Child

     Children

     Youth

     Kids

    Anatomy of a chapter: This toolkit consists of ten chapters. The first chapter introduces the Generations approach to understanding school-age care and identifies how Environments, Relationships, and Experiences (ERE) influence children‘s growth and development. Each subsequent chapter highlights a specific content area related to ―best practices‖ and engages the reader in transfer of knowledge and reflection through stories, examples, inquiries, charts, and strategies for implementation. Each chapter can be used as a stand-alone resource for professional development, staff meetings, and independent research or study by

  • Page | 2 Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality

    practitioners. Look for guidelines, concrete activity ideas, and unique strategies for supporting children‘s development and best practices in program design.

    Supplementary material was written by Roberta Newman, and real-life examples from the experience of Laurie Ollhoff.

    Discussion questions engage practitioners in stepping back and slowing down in order to think carefully and learn from their experiences by celebrating strategies that are working well and reflecting on challenges with an eye for improvement. This section includes questions specific to the chapter content. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to examine the chapter content in the context of the School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) or other program assessment tools. Finally, practitioners are encouraged to identify areas for improvement and to create a plan of action to make improvements.

    Resources and further reading appear at the end of each chapter. These include suggestions for research that supports the content areas and/or opportunities to learn more about the specific content.

    We recommend beginning your reading with chapter one, since it details the concepts and vocabulary that will be used throughout the book.

    Purpose

    The primary purpose of this resource is to provide school-age care/out-of-school time program practitioners with a tool to examine program practices, explore their roles and responsibilities in facilitating children‘s positive growth, development, and learning, and to engage in a process of reflective continuous quality improvement. It incorporates the Ollhoff Theories, including the Generations Approach, the Five Foundations of Childhood theory, and ERE theory (Environments, Relationships, and Experiences). All focus on deepening the understanding necessary to develop quality out-of-school time programs that are grounded in the presence of the Search Institute‘s identified protective factors.

    This toolkit is offered as a resource to school-age practitioners, directors, or others in leadership roles, including professional development instructors, technical assistance consultants, Keystone STARS specialists, youth development coordinators, school district personnel, and others interested in the growth and development of school-age children. The information in this toolkit is aimed at all levels of learners including beginning, developing, and mastery level school-age care practitioners. Although each chapter integrates concepts introduced in chapter one, each chapter has been written as a stand-alone resource if individuals wish to address one component at a time. Feel free to customize the information to meet your specific programming and staff development needs. For example, you may decide to use this resource in staff meetings, for independent study opportunities, or in a community of practice.

    We envision this toolkit supplementing existing out-of-school time, school-age care, and afterschool professional development resources and materials including the School-Age Professional Credential Coursework. It is our hope that the implementation of this toolkit will enhance and enrich opportunities for all school-age children and provide a framework for continuous quality improvement.

  • Keys to Quality Afterschool: Environments, Relationships and Experiences Page | 3

    Chapter 1: Examining Perspectives

    on Out-of-School Time

    What is the Purpose of School-Age Care?

    School-age care is a place for growth, nurturing, and life skill development. It is a sad fact that, as a nation, we are losing our children in sizable numbers. Every day, children and youth experiment with at-r