By Sam Piha
Q: We are focusing our efforts on the idea of improving our approaches to how children learn. While these are related to what we know about youth development, we have chosen to stay close to the research on learning since many of our stakeholders and partners are educators. Do you see this as an important shift in talking about afterschool and summer programs?
Q: Could you say a little bit about your vision of afterschool and its value in promoting academic and broader youth development?
Q: How are these LIAS principles related to what we are doing in school reform efforts?
Q: Can you speak to one or more of these principles that most resonate for you when you think about creating learning environments and activities for kids?
A: More meaningful learning can occur in our afterschool and in our summer programs when the learning is relevant and connects that student to real world experiences. This expands their horizons, their opportunities, as well as their time in learning. It connects to them personally in a greater way and connects them to other students, resulting in a deeper and richer learning experience that will last.
Q: Afterschool settings often offer opportunities for informal learning that is not structured in a way that we see in traditional classrooms. Can you say something about the importance of inquiry and discovery that is led by the child?
A: As a science teacher, the expanded learning opportunities through quality afterschool and summer program learning is fascinating in terms of how it can connect to an individual student. It can give them the chance to explore things, to discover through hands-on, problem solving activities in a way that they normally don’t during the regular school day.