Monday, July 18, 2011

More Learning Time Is Good If It's Truly Quality Learning Time

By Sam Piha

Even though it seems like it took forever, there is a growing consensus that out-of-school learning is a vital component in improving young people’s academic outcomes. This is in part due to the growing body of research on out-of-school learning, which includes summer learning and STEM learning in informal settings, as well as the findings of school reform efforts that show schools can’t do it alone.

This is reflected in the growing interest in community schools (see OUSD’s strategic plan to incorporate the community schools model) expanded learning (led by TASC, Citizen Schools and The National Center on Time & Learning,) and year-round learning (see HRFP's brief on year-round learning.) It is important that afterschool professionals understand and participate in the discussions of these concepts.

While the issues of increased access and structural supports are important, we believe that the discussion of the approaches that promote quality learning is still absent. The Learning in Afterschool Project is working to focus the field on how children learn and what the most effective approaches are.

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