Breakfast Club Blog

Using Voice and Choice in Afterschool Programs

As afterschool professionals, we give a lot of lip service to the phrase “voice and choice”. Theoretically, we understand that students feel more ownership of their afterschool programs when they are able to voice their opinions and provide input into the program. Sounds easy, right? Like most good ideas, however, implementation is much more difficult than it sounds. Students are most likely not going to gather and discuss collaboratively what they want the program to be. There is al...Read More

Girls and the Scary World of Relationships- How Your After School Program Can Encourage Healthy Choices

There comes a time in a girl’s life (and boy’s for that matter) when the opposite sex no longer have “koodies.” Once girls discover that they like boys, there is no turning back the hands of time- they have entered the point of no return. By this I mean that all common sense is out the window. Girls enter this “boy crazy” stage in about 6th grade and it gets severely out of control in middle school- trust me! However, it is important to work with our female st...Read More

Behavior is a Form of Communication

Nine years ago, when my son was in 4th grade, he had a homework assignment that involved reading a newspaper article and bringing it in to school. He spread out the newspaper on the kitchen table and IMMEDIATELY my big, fluffy, 13 pound cat jumped on the table and spread out as far as she could over the newspaper (cat owners have surely seen this phenomenon.) Now Kasha, the cat, had done this to me MANY times. And no matter how often I pushed her out of the way or picked her up and moved her, sh...Read More

Laughter is Good Medicine

Have you ever had that group that just couldn’t get their sillies out? You know, the gigglers, the nervous laughers, or the kids who are just sharing a private joke or kidding around on the side? So often, students have spent their days sitting and focusing on work or drilling for standardized testing that by the time they are out of school and able to let loose a little, they have a hard time refocusing on the new learning opportunities and activities we have planned for them. Rather than...Read More

Attention: Get in the Cyberworld Now!!!

If we want to know what is going on in the cyberworld with our kids, we need to get into the cyberworld. A new frontier has quickly developed and for many adults it is a frontier that is very foreign to us. This new frontier is the Cyberworld. This world offers our kids some pretty amazing things that can help foster their growth as an individual and provide information that accelerates their educational learning opportunities. Developed as an educator’s tool for sharing, the internet and ...Read More

Stop, focus, and reflect

As schools and afterschool programs across the country are gearing up for the 2010-11 school year, now is a good time to stop, take a breath, and reflect about where we are. While this might seem counterintuitive to some of us (I know many of us try to take that breather at the end of the school year), it’s always good to go into a new year with an open mind. As someone who conducts training, professional development, and technical assistance with afterschool program staff, I often focus o...Read More

Picking Teams Painlessly

Being the last one picked is just no fun. What if the last words you heard before you became a team member was “Alright, I guess we have to take you”? The first play hasn’t been made and already, you feel like a failure. For some students, the mere act of picking teams is so difficult they simply choose not to participate in physical activity, thus avoiding the stress. The emotional safety of our students is as essential as the physical safety and it can begin with the act of p...Read More

Who You Are Speaks Louder than Anything You Can Say

A troubled mother took her daughter to see Mohandas Gandhi, who was world-renowned for his great spiritual discipline. It seems the young girl had become addicted to eating sweets, and her mother wanted Gandhi to speak to her about this harmful habit and convince her to drop it. Upon hearing this request, Gandhi paused in silence and then told the mother, “Bring the girl back to me in three weeks and I will speak to her then.” Just as she was instructed, the mother returned with her ...Read More

4 Quick Thoughts on Leadership

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln I love people who push themselves to perform at the highest level possible. Because I’m a child of the 80’s, where we proudly rocked mullets and tight rolled our jeans, I think about Michael Jordan. The game was over and you’d find him in the gym shooting 500 free throws. He had an internal drive to do better. He wanted to be the best he could be. Because I can actually hear your staff and students banging on your ...Read More

Seven Super Tools to Prevent Misbehavior

Super Spaces When you walk into a gymnasium, you behave differently than when you walk into a library. The environment sends cues to the brain about how you should feel and behave. Provide an environment that encourages desirable behavior. The space should say “Play with me!” in a way that clearly defines HOW to play. The way you arrange your space and what you put in your space tells children what types of behavior are expected in that space. Control the environment, not the child. ...Read More

Adolescent Girls and the Media: A Look Beyond the Mirror

Let’s face it- growing up female can be tough, but growing up female in this day and age can be REALLY tough. There are a LOT (and I mean a lot) of unique challenges that adolescent girls face and one of them happens to be the “M” word. What is the “M” word, you ask? Here’s a hint: something that has the ability to impact girls’ perception of themselves and their body image? Any guesses? Well, chances are you probably said media. If you did (and I’...Read More

Ubuntu: A person is a person through other people

There are many times in my life that I can think back to and attribute success solely to what I have done by myself, for myself, or for someone else, but accomplished just by me, alone. These are excellent moments for self-reflection and acknowledgment of individual accomplishment, and although individuals create many great things by themselves, we do not, for the most part, live as hermits, isolated from the rest of humanity. We live in families and in societies comprised of cities and towns, a...Read More