The Quality Active After School Experience: Considerations for Parents / Guardians
The after school time period, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, is an important opportunity to increase physical activity amongst children and youth. Every day after school, each child in Canada participates in the ‘after school experience’. The quality of this experience varies greatly depending on the nature of that experience. Parents/Guardians can support their children in leading healthy active lives by encouraging their participating in quality active after school programs (QAASP) that will enhance their well-being, and their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.
Not all after school programs are created equal. Considering the following questions will help ensure your child’s active after school program is providing a quality experience. The more questions you are able to answer ‘yes’ to, the more likely it is that this program will be of a high quality for your child.
Does the after school program…?
- Provide caring, trained and experienced adult leaders? Is staff turnover low?
- Have safe, accessible and inviting facilities and equipment? Have minimum standards for safety and security?
- Have strong connections with the community, and positive relationships with community organizations?
- Have a safe and secure plan for all participants to travel to the program, and during outings (accessible transportation may be necessary)?
- Provide time to play, as well as quality instruction for children and youth to master physical activity related skills (physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development)?
- Provide a variety of physical activity experiences
- Provide daily moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?
- Provide healthy foods?
- Promote the well being of all aspects of the child and ensure their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development?
- Provide quiet times for homework with adult help and peer help when needed?
- Intentionally address the specific needs of your child (inclusion and accessibility)?
- Solicit input from children and from parents/guardians? Take time to get to know your child, and have a positive relationship?
- Utilize expertise from the community when skills are needed that are beyond the training/abilities of staff (e.g. mental health professionals, personal care workers)?
- Mentor and train older children to become future program leaders?
- Conduct regular evaluations, and act on lessons learned?
- Have a good reputation with other parents/guardians?
Additional Resources :
Quality Active After School Parent/Guardian Resource: www.activeafterschool.ca/parents
Active for Life Parents and Physical Literacy: www.activeforlife.com
High Five: http://highfive.org/welcome-parents
Actively Engaging Women and Girls: Addressing the Psycho-Social Factors: www.caaws.ca
CS4L: A Sport Parent’s Guide, and Devloping Physical Literacy: www.canadiansportforlife.ca
Boys and Girls Club of Canada: www.bgccan.com