Breakfast Club Blog

Young People in Afterschool Programs Leading Efforts to Improve School Attendance

  We often teach our young people to listen to their elders because they are the voices of experience and wisdom. But many times, the best way to get through to a young person is through another young person. With this in mind, it is especially encouraging to be able to recognize two Baltimore-based youth organizations – Wide Angle Youth Media and the Baltimore Urban Debate League – that are engaging young people in citywide efforts to spread the message about the value of attending school regul...Read More

Playing in the Leaves

I cried after watching a commercial last night. No, it wasn’t a commercial with babies in tires, or one about a service member who makes it home in time for the holidays, or even a Hallmark movie special. It was a Toys’R’Us commercial. A group of kids were going on a field trip to the forest. While on the bus the guide tells the rather disinterested group that instead they are going to Toys’R’Us- the bus goes wild! Granted if I was being driven to jury duty and the ...Read More

Valuing Children’s Artwork

“Mommy, my art is in the trash!” said 4-year-old Noah with shock and dismay. This is how Board Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, opened her keynote speech to a large group of educators. She held up her son’s paper plate painting and told us how distressed he was when he found it in the trashcan at home. How could this have happened? Surely it must be a mistake because who would throw away original artwork? I was completely amused by her poignant message as this Education Board Mem...Read More

In Serious Need of Fun

Life should be lived as play. Summarized from Plato’s Laws, should be the mantra of every adult providing out-of-school time care for children. Childhood passes swiftly, and even more so as our nation careens down the path of testing and accountability. With Americans living on average into their 70s and 80s, the time one can spend playing without guilt passes in a blink. The childhood experience is missing fun for fun’s sake. Free play has been replaced with purposeful skill buildin...Read More

Revising Beyond the Bell – A Few Takeaways

I began my career as a consultant and trainer for afterschool and expanded learning programs at PlusTime New Hampshire. While I was there, I had one resource I would turn to time and time again to support the programs I was working with: the Beyond the Bell Toolkit. As a consultant dealing with a variety of program needs and questions, the Toolkit was a great resource for me because there were so many tools available on topics ranging from management to evaluation to program design and delivery....Read More

Vive La Digital Revolution

One thing I have learned throughout my life is that we remember our defining moments. Well, two things happened in 1984 that changed my life forever (I know….I’m getting up there!). Anyway, the first was my family taking a trip to see Walt Disney World’s E.P.C.O.T. and the other was our first computer purchase, the Apple IIc. No longer were the visions of Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica mere fantasy. They were architectural maps for the future of mankind. These...Read More

Highlights of a Summer Road Show

Every year, the Summer Matters campaign tours summer programs across the state from Glenn County down to San Bernardino and over to Fresno. The programs, supported by local technical assistance providers, have been working intentionally to improve their quality for the past 4 years. What we’re seeing is a real testament to the ingenuity and determination of our field, and to the power of the cycle of quality improvement. Here are a few of the highlights: At the Whittier City School Distric...Read More

Research on Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in Out-of-School Time

“There is a critical need for afterschool programs that can receive and handle students with special needs. I believe that programs could be strengthened by providing training for caregivers in such areas as autism and ADHD, along with encouraging practices that would provide an appropriate adult-to-student ratio to enhance care options for students with disabilities.” Taking the Temperature of Afterschool, New Jersey School Age Care Coalition Although the Americans with Disabilities...Read More

College Access and Career Readiness through Afterschool Programming

College access and career readiness are important in the discourse regarding social mobility and at the center of discussions about the future of American competitiveness in a global economy that has significantly become knowledge and innovation-based. The Council of Economic Advisors stated in their report Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow (July 2009),”Well-trained and highly skilled workers will be in the best positions to secure high wage jobs, thereby fueling Amer...Read More

How Are You Planning to Spend Your Summer Vacation?

You might not be thinking about summer, but I think it’s the perfect time to ask yourself what the youth in your programs will be doing this summer. The summer experience that was most memorable for me was a sewing class I took in elementary school. My mom was an avid seamstress and made clothes for me and for my dolls. I thought I might design fashion-forward clothes for me and my Barbies if I learned to sew. So I signed up for an intro class at a fabric store with some friends. The instr...Read More

Celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Hands-On Projects Inspire Students to Find the Engineer Within

“I made a new friend today,” a girl enthusiastically shared as she and her fifth-grade peers cleaned up after making polymers. These girls come together once a week and work through science and engineering activities in an afterschool program hosted by Techbridge. We challenge them to work with students that they don’t know and measure success when we see them supporting each other. It’s a sign that afterschool programs are not only fostering and expanding opportunities f...Read More

The Common Core and What Children Need

I was recently introduced to this quote from Robert Halpern of the Erikson Institute: “… children need times and places in their lives where the adult agenda is modest, if not held at bay; where the emotional temperature is low, and acceptance is generous; where learning is self-directed, experiential, and structured to be enjoyable; where talents can be identified; and where possible identities can be explored without risk of failure or ridicule” (Halpern, 2000, p. 186). It so...Read More