Breakfast Club Blog

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is a curated space where bloggers from around the world contribute content on a continual basis about a variety of topics relevant to in and out-of-school time. The BOOST Breakfast Club blog is at the heart of an ongoing dialogue where expanded learning and education professionals share their personal thoughts and stories from the in and out-of-school time field. They also tell us what they ate for breakfast!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Enjoy the brain food.

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is Brain Food for In and Out-of-School Time Leaders!

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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

4 Steps to Make Student-Centered Learning Come Alive!

The purpose and potential of Expanded Learning Programs have changed radically in the last 20 years. The process began with the passage of California’s first comprehensive afterschool legislation, which Carla Sanger of LA’s BEST and I initiated in 1997. This paved the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for elementary and middle school programs and resulted in a growing body of knowledge about what it takes to make a real difference in students’ lives. As part of this process, man...Read More

Where the Rubber Meets the Road- Planning a Successful Afterschool Activity

Building on the concept that the most productive learning comes through active involvement, the effectiveness of any program that seeks to develop skills in youth must be rich in activity. Remember, most of the students sit for almost 7.5 hours a day! They are eager to be involved in activities that allow for action and interaction. Enthusiasm is contagious and movement essential. You do not need a repertoire of several hundred activities. Such a large selection is simply not practical and, more...Read More

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

5 Tips for Educators To Help Students Under Pressure

I remember when I was teaching that there were distinct times of the year when kids exhibited high stress and anxiety as it relates to completing assignments. It was common to see students, usually in gifted programs, bogged down with the pressures of academia. We took it as the norm – school, studying, and exams can be stressful. Today, however, many more students are feeling the pressures of school and the result can be daunting and, for many, debilitating. A 2018 study from Pew Research Cente...Read More


One key feature of engaged student learning is ensuring that the programs we offer are brain-friendly. Let’s examine four components that can be integrated into learning practices. Acknowledgment If it’s Worth Doing, it’s Worth Celebrating Pride, pleasure, and increased feelings of self-esteem are all common reactions to being paid a compliment or receiving positive feedback. Why? Because being praised triggers the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the reward and pleasur...Read More

Use Micro-Moments To Set Inclusive Tone

“Welcome.” “I’m so glad you’re here!” “Hey, I like the dog on your shirt.” “It’s great to see you today.”   What are your favorite ways to establish an inclusive and welcoming tone from the moment a child or teen walks into your program? It only takes a few seconds, yet making a point to greet each young person as they enter helps them start feeling comfortable from the start. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s new SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook tal...Read More

Navigating Kids Short Attention Spans

If you work with children, you are familiar with the challenges of navigating their short attention spans. While it’s easy to merely label young children as “unfocused,” there are a variety of developmental challenges that interfere with a child’s ability to maximize their attention for a long period of time. Luckily, there are some time-tested program strategies that can help to overcome these challenges and maximize children’s focus, attention, and engagement with a physical activity program. ...Read More

Kids Are Natural Scientists—Let Them Take the Lead!

Science is based on curiosity and finding evidence. Giving kids opportunities to roll up their sleeves and understand the world around them by looking for evidence is a great way to be a “guide on the side” rather than a formal teacher or science expert. By letting the children lead, watching what they do, and asking questions, you empower them to follow their natural curiosity. By encouraging them to help one other and share ideas and materials, you help them build important social skills. Scie...Read More

Webinar 2: How to Inspire Youth Giving

Editor’s Note: A special thank you to author @jillgordon for sharing the second of four of Youth Philanthropy’s webinar series. Today’s post focuses on youth philanthropy models that can be implemented in your program too!  Click on the webinar link below “How to Inspire Youth Giving” for the full program.  And, keep your eyes open in March for the next special webinar from Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana. The Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII) created a 4...Read More

Collaboration, Gratitude and Birds (Yeah, Birds!)

As we enter the holiday season, I’m thankful to be coming up on my 10th year at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. As Director of Community Partnerships, I have the unique pleasure of cultivating relationships to engage communities in promoting children’s health. For this article, I wanted to share three collaborations that I am particularly excited about – each with resources I hope you can use to bring wellness to life in out-of-school time while engaging families and empowering children...Read More

Taming the Beast – Hip Hop in After-School

I love hip hop music. I love love love the songs on the radio. I love probably the worst of the worst. I love even the songs that treat women like sex objects and I’m a feminist through and through. I just love the sounds and the beats, and the spirit hidden under the layer of words that to me feel like a front, an inheritance of our culture and the roles that are being played out of ignorance and habit. But the truth is, even though I love these songs and sing them out loud in my car, I d...Read More

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