School-agers Beyond the School Day
We know that quality early childhood care and education positively affects child growth, development and school readiness. Did you know that high-quality learning experiences are also important for school-agers, both in school and beyond the school day? The research is clear that children and youth participating in afterschool programs experience positive outcomes in all areas of development, as well as decreases in high-risk behaviors. However, programs must be high-quality in order for children and youth to benefit from them (Indiana Afterschool Alliance). Indiana is responding to this need for quality school-age care, since most child care providers serve school-age children in some capacity. As a matter of fact, approximately 76.4% of all Indiana child care providers serve school-agers.
What is the importance of providing after-school programs and providing quality child care for school age children?
It is important to remember that learning can take place even after the traditional school day is over. Some school-agers are in child care programs for up to 64,800 minutes each year. If you add up the minutes in a year’s afterschool and summer programs, this is the equivalent to the number of minutes in 144 school days. This means that after school professionals play a large part in the overall education of school-age children.
Recently, School-age Specialist positions were created in some of the local child care resource and referral agencies, with the goal of increasing the quality of school-age child care programs. The School-age Specialists are currently working with Indiana Association for Child Care Resource & Referral and other leading state and national youth professionals to collect, develop and share resources and trainings with Indiana’s child care providers and stakeholders.Even in local child care resource and referral agencies without School-age Specialists, resources about school-age care are available.
Here’s how the School-age Specialists support school-age programs:
• School-age child care training and technical assistance including: onsite observation, modeling of best practices, and action plan development with measurable goals and action steps to help programs enroll in or move up through the levels of Paths to QUALITY™
• Share information and provide resources on specific school-age program needs
• Connect care providers to school-age best practices, and other local, state and national resources, research, and data
For more information about school-age care, resources, and school-agers in general, contact your local child care resource and referral agency. You can find your agency by clicking here.