A cornerstone of after school programming has always been to support the social and emotional needs of children. After school provides the opportunity for teamwork, collaboration, empathetic expression, and other “soft skills” children need for the 21st century workforce. These experiences, according to Durlak and Weissberg (2013), are a contributing factor to student achievement as well.
Through a meta-analysis of studies of both academically and non-academically focused after school programs, they found four defining features of program practices that made this difference. These “SAFE” features included Structured (S) approach to implementing activities, Active (A) forms of learning, Focused (F) specific time and attention to skill development, and were Explicit (E) in defining these skills. Programs that contained these features did not necessarily have an academic focus, however did demonstrate academic and social gains in participants.
Read the full article, “Afterschool Programs That Follow Evidence-Based Practices to Promote Social and Emotional Development Are Effective” in the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium.