Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
What are After School and Out of School Time Programs?
After School and Out of School Time programs are a type of center-based program that serves children at least five years old and under fourteen years old (and children with disabilities under sixteen years old).
Types of After School and Out of School Time Programs:
After school and out of school time programs are generally open before and/or after school and/or during school vacations. Some after school and out of school time programs are privately run in public school building space. These programs are licensed by EEC.
After School and Out of School Time Program Licensing
In Massachusetts, we are able to elevate our focus to the developmental needs of children because of a strong foundation of licensing. An EEC License indicates that a program and its facilities have met standards for health, safety, supervision and staff training. It is the first-level standard that should be considered when choosing any program.
An EEC license means that:
Almost all child care provided outside a child’s own home, whether it be in a center-based program, an after school program, or in a family child care home, must be licensed or authorized by EEC. (Programs operated by a school district are not licensed by EEC.)
The current license for all programs will be posted in a prominent location.
The five key components to look for:
1. Curriculum, Assessment and Diversity
This includes the development and assessment of curriculum, attention to children with special needs and diverse language and cultures. Because all staff members that work with children are key partners in learning, we refer to all of them as “educators”.
- Does the daily schedule include activities that promote literacy (reading) and numeracy (math)?
- Are individualized homework assistance and other educational supports, such as access to skilled volunteers or tutors offered?
- Are students engaged in a variety of activities, including arts, athletics and academic enrichment?
- Have educators received professional development in assessment, health and nutrition, working with diverse populations and second language acquisition?
- Do educators promote verbal communication skills and model use of Standard English when reading and interacting with youth?
- Does the curriculum reflect different learning styles/approaches?
- Do program activities support students in developing leadership skills, self esteem and reducing risk –taking behavior?
- Do educators act as mentors/ role models? Are there activities that support developing positive relationships with adults in the program?
- Are the materials used reflective of your child’s background and culture and the diversity of the community?
2. Safe, Healthy, Indoor and Outdoor Environments
Program environments should support the implementation of the curriculum through the use of space, materials and opportunities for children to experiment and practice skills. They also support health, safety and nutrition.
- Are there stimulating indoor and outdoor spaces
- Is there an annual consultation by a Health Consultant to monitor records, update health care policies and assist the program in complying with health and safety requirements?
- Are educators trained to work with special diets, allergies and/or specialized feeding issues?
3. Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development
To ensure healthy development, the workforce must have formalized training, content knowledge and ongoing professional development.
- Does the program administrator have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, elementary education, adolescent development, psychology and a minimum of two years experience as an administrator?
- Have the site coordinators earned college credits in education, development psychology or a related field?
- Do all educators have an Individual Development Plan?
4. Family and Community Engagement
High-quality programs recognize the interconnection between the child, the family, the community and the program itself. These programs involve parents as full partners while providing them with information, resources and support.
- Is there a Parent Advisory Board that is actively involved in policy and decision making?
- Is there a daily two-way communication system available between educators and families?
- Does the program maintain a list of community resources that support families?
- Has the program developed informational materials on the program that are available in the language(s) of the community?
- Are translators available for meetings and conferences?
5. Leadership, Management and Administration
High quality programs require effective leadership with management and administrative practices that ensure a stable environment, fiscal accountability, evaluation of the program’s practices and policies and the development of relationships within the community.
- Are communications updates sent to educators and families?
- Does the program have a written business plan and admissions policy that promotes awareness and respect for differences among children and families?
- Are the program director, staff and families surveyed on an annual basis in order to evaluate the program and develop an improvement plan?
- Is there a career ladder in place for staff and an incentive program for rewarding educators that achieve the next step?
Information provided by the Department of Early Education and Care. Created: September 27, 2011