Friday, April 28, 2017

Expanding Horizons, Positive Youth Development, and SEL: The Power of Nature, Part 2

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
Offering young people the chance to experience nature, particularly wilderness settings, provides powerful opportunities to promote social-emotional learning, build character skills, and build relationships and a sense of belonging. (See Part 1 of this blog post here.)

Below we continue our interview with youth program leaders who can speak directly to the power of outdoor and wilderness experiences for youth, especially inner-city youth.


Q: Exposing youth to the outdoors can be an expensive and complex task. For programs that do not have access to transportation or camping equipment, what is your recommendation for how they can expose their youth to the outdoors?
Bob Cabeza,
Youth Institute

Bob Cabeza, Youth Institute: I would strongly recommend partnering with agencies who have lots of experience in outdoor education as well as experience in Youth Development. Make sure that they have diverse staff as role models and leaders for the youth. Otherwise, its usually white enfranchised staff from wealthier socio-economic backgrounds and environments who are totally into the wilderness and environment due to life long access but know very little nor can empathize with inner city minority youth. 

A day trip does not give any type of long term impact that a multi-day camping wilderness experience does. They are not the same thing. Also, minority low-income youth need to gain access to beautiful nature, not just a local park. According to National Park data, over 92% of people who visit the parks are caucasian and older. We need to turn that around quickly or this generation will not have the love of the outdoors and advocate for the environment when they get older. 

We contract with other agencies and YMCA's nationally to take youth into the wilderness. I would advise programs to start small. Start with a few youth and staff and maybe a three day camping experience. That way, the cost is less and the staff gain confidence and experience as they move forward.

Brad Lupien,
arc
Brad Lupien and Staff from arc: Transportation in particular is expensive which poses a challenge for may programs. Adventure Sports and camping can be costly too.  But, parks, beaches, forests are cheap. 

Some ideas:
  • There are lots of curriculum books out there for activities that can be done on a campus.  These may be east coast based and out of date but examples include; “Keepers of the Earth” and “And This our Life.”  Activities include leaf identification, nature art, gardening etc.  Essentially, you can bring nature to the schools. At the same time, getting OUT in nature is preferred.
  • There are cheaper ways to get kids into nature. Los Angeles added bus routes that have stops at State Parks.  “Surf Bus” offers surf instruction and the bus for free.  Online pages offer geocaching in local parks. The DOCENTS at city, state and national parks will do group specific walks/talks for free.
  • Finally, we, at arc, use the adventure outings as part of the leadership curriculum.  On campus classes and workshops on communication, problem solving, critical thinking, group dynamics are paired with culminating adventure/nature trips. This allows more expensive programs to be paired with less expensive programs which gets the overall budget to align.

Ashanti Branch, Ever Forward Club: I love the outdoor element, but it
requires an enormous amount of time and planning. To make this happen, we
Ashanti Branch,
Ever Forward Club
take advantage of the offerings of programs that specialize in taking youth on wilderness and camping trips. We partner with Bay Area Wilderness Training, which provides a gear library so that the cost barrier to getting youth outdoors is not a factor. We also partner with Young Men's Ultimate Weekend, a modern day Rites of Passage for young men. We have taken over 60 of our youth to this weekend over the years. This organization creates an outdoor weekend initiation for young men as they are making the journey from young men into mature adulthood. 


Q: What kind of experiences does your program offer youth? 

Bob Cabeza, Youth InstituteWe offer a one week wilderness retreat for our Youth as an entry point to the Youth Institute to help them develop socially and emotionally before we delve into the academic and workforce skill building parts of our program. These experiences are not 'cabin camp'. They are outward bound type of experiences where youth sleep on the ground, build their own shelters, cook, clean, do orienteering, hike, climb, swim in lakes and rivers. They are intense group work learning impactful transformational experiences for youth. Our Youth bond as one family through these experiences and in numerous evaluations, this experience is what keeps them actively engaged in all areas of our program for many years. 


Photo Credit: Youth Institute
Brad Lupien and Staff from arc: What arc Adventure doesn’t offer is a cookie-cutter program. Every kid, every teenager, and every adult is unique in every possible way, so our trips are as well. The most important thing an outdoor education experience can be is accessible, so that participants feel welcome in the new environment and are encouraged to come back. We don’t make assumptions about the groups that we work with, making them fit into the “arc” culture and way of running programs. We take the time to learn the school or team culture, the comfort and participation level of the group, and the things the group wants to accomplish in their time with us, so that our program is a natural extension of their learning and a singularly memorable experience that they’ll want to repeat again and again.

Arc programming ranges from single day adventures (rock climbing, snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, canyoneering) to multi-day camping and backpacking trips.  Staff consist of certified guides to handle the adventures and naturalist/scientist to layer in the hands-on science.  Everyone is trained on youth development, leave-no-trace philosophy and group facilitation.  Whether working with a college, elementary school, church, or after school program we design the program to meet the unique needs of the group while always blending the “sport” with life and social skills lessons.  A day of rock climbing teaches figure 8 knots and ATC use but also how to deal with fear in our lives and how communication is a critical tool in goal setting.



Photo Credit: arc


Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC
YMUW
Dr. Mark Schillinger, Young Men's Ultimate Weekend: The Young Men's Ultimate Weekend is a modern, nonreligious, wilderness rite of passage initiation for young men ages 13 – 20. Young men of all socio - economic backgrounds attend our event in order to freely voice their concerns about becoming a man and acquire the leadership skills necessary for a responsible adulthood. Young men are in an environment where they can voice their concerns about adulthood, learn leadership skills and discover their own, personal values. The YMUW has a one-to-one ratio of mentors to young men, so young men are in a village with well-trained caring adult men who know how to model the right values.


------------
Bob Cabeza is Vice President of Community Development at the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and Founder of the Youth Institute. The Youth Institute is a year-round program that uses technology as an integral mechanism for promoting positive youth development and developing pathways to post secondary education and career readiness of low-income, culturally diverse urban high school youth. They built their program culture by exposing their youth to wilderness experiences. 

Brad Lupien is President and CEO at arcarc is an after school and experiential education provider. They bridge the opportunity gap by creating transformational learning opportunities that empower youth to realize their full potential. They rely heavily on engaging youth in outdoor sports and wilderness activities.


Ashanti Branch is Founder and Executive Director at Ever Forward Club. Founded in 2004, the Ever Forward Club mentors young men of color in middle and high school by providing them with safe, brave communities that build character and transform lives.  


Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC, is Co-Founder of Young Men's Ultimate Weekend (YMUW). The purpose of YMUW is to provide young men with a weekend filled with incredible fun and challenges, while building a foundation for a confident and successful adulthood, through learning the importance of teamwork, developing a sense of accomplishment and acquiring leadership skills.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#heartofafterschool

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a joint effort of community partners, afterschool programs, youth and child care workers and individuals who have committed to declaring the last full week of April each year as a time to recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during out-of-school hours. Join us for celebrations and display your appreciation to thank afterschool professionals who make a difference in the lives of young people. 


- National AfterSchool Association


Below are a number of resources that can help you celebrate this week. Click on the images below.




A good way to appreciate afterschool is to SAVE afterschool. Click on the images below to learn more.



You can learn more about why afterschool works from Mott Foundation CEO and Chairman, Bill White. You can click on the quote and view the video below. 



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Expanding Horizons, Positive Youth Development, and SEL: The Power of Nature, Part 1

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
When I managed afterschool programs in West Contra Costa County (CA), we found that taking young people into nature and the wilderness were very powerful experiences. These included backpacking, canoe trips, and a week long outdoor experience at the YMCA camp on the eel river. 

Below we offer two videos that capture the importance of taking young people into nature. The first video focuses on older youth who are learning to rock climb. The second video focuses on Oakland children who are visiting nearby Muir Woods. For many, this is the first time that they have been outside of the city.


Youth Development, Entrepreneurship, and Rock Climbing
Nature Now


National parks turn into classrooms to turn a 
new generation into nature lovers

You can view an article from the Greater Good Science Center and another article authored by Bob Cabeza. 

Below we offer an interview with youth program leaders who can speak directly to the power of outdoor and wilderness experiences for youth, especially inner-city youth.

Q: What are benefits to exposing young people to nature and the wilderness - benefits to individuals, the group, even the adult supervisors?


Bob Cabeza,
Youth Institute
Bob Cabeza, Youth InstituteNature is therapy to the nature deprived. Both young staff and youth create family bonds, learn about themselves and their place in the world and truly developed multiple skills simultaneously. It's layered hyper learning for all of the senses. Nature heals the wounds that society inflicts upon young people. Nature can be used as a rite of passage and as a medium to impact young people's lives in meaningful and productive ways. Such as helping them come to terms with issues in their lives. Helping them understand their potential and place in the world. There are numerous opportunities for metaphorical learning that are directly transferred into real life problem solving, academic and workforce skills. Nature unto itself teaches introspection and develops an appreciation of beauty and peace. It is meditative to the brain, heart and soul. 


Brad Lupien,
arc
Brad Lupien and Staff from arcA hike, paddle, peddle, climb, or adventure in the back country truly expands horizons.  By stripping away the noises, stresses and chaos of daily life, one’s mind can open up.  There is a reason that across all cultures and religions prolonged time in nature is a rite of passage, a path to a higher being, and method for enlightenment.  More practically, adventure sports, gear and experience has become a pastime of the wealthy.  But, our parks, forests and beaches are free … or very inexpensive.  

Taking kids into nature is a simple and inexpensive way to close an opportunity gap. If we know that learning happens when it is active learning and/or collaborative learning, then outdoor education is a no brainer.  Young people must work together to reach a common goal (the top of a mountain, a distant island, or a the other side of a stream) and passive observation as you ascend, paddle, or traverse is simply not an option.   At arc, we often find that the adults staff joining the group as “chaperones” become “co-players” without prompt or push.  They come as the adult authority and leave as a co-participant.  The experience brings out the inner child and melts the traditional student/teacher, learner/presenter relationships.  Learning becomes collaborative with the adult vs for the adult.


Ashanti Branch,
Ever Forward Club

Ashanti Branch, Ever Forward Club
Outdoors are a bonding opportunity for youth. Getting young men out of their regular environment allows for an opening of the mind and a deepening of the heart. Often times within the confines of the concrete jungles with all of the radio waves and search for bars and likes; our young people often miss out on deep conversations and connections that they desperately want and need.  






Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC
YMUW
Dr. Mark Schillinger, Young Men's Ultimate WeekendAs a youth mentor, I have dealt with many young men who are having a hard time in school, struggling to have healthy relationships, and suffering from emotional problems because of their lack of exposure to the healing qualities of nature and to the lessons it offers.

I have seen how getting young men active and involved in group outdoor activities has helped them develop analytical skills. The demands of being outdoors force them to evaluate situations carefully and to hone their masculine wisdom and logic to make good decisions. Being outside, as it turns out, is not only good for their bodies—it’s also good for cognition. Something magical happens when young men are given the freedom to experience nature. Socially, physically, and mentally, they grow. Nature is the best classroom for them to discover who they really are, practice accepting and dealing with real-world situations, and gain trust in other males and their ability to work together to get things done. They develop confidence in their instincts and overcome their fears of the unknown.

Q: This is important for all children and youth. Why is it especially important for low-income and inner-city youth?

Bob Cabeza, Youth InstituteWell run outdoor education programs in nature teach problem solving, social and emotional learning, build intense positive relationships between peers and adults. It also tests ones confidence and develops critical, analytical, abstract and sequential thinking skills. These experiences can be tailored to teach communication skills, diversity and decision-making, and intense long term team building. – Bob Cabeza

Brad Lupien and Staff from arcThe importance of exposing low-income and inner-city youth to the outdoors cannot be overstated. Many students form our urban centers have no exposure to the state parks, forest areas, public beaches, and lakes right in their backyards.  Once they experience nature’s classroom and playground for the first time an awakening can occur within them. 

Half of the kayaking trips we take with low-income Los Angeles youth find that the kids have lived in LA their whole life, but have never seen the ocean. Most of the trips we lead with inner-city youth see the most common questions not being about the bugs or the dirt, but “Is this free?” and “Can I take my family?” After playing in the outdoors and feeling that instant connection to nature, it opens up a whole new world that students want to be part of, and they want to take their families with them. It exposes them to healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, and a love of wildlife that they might not otherwise have access to. 

Dr. Mark Schillinger, Young Men's Ultimate Weekend: Getting young children out into nature is important for inner-city youth. Inner-city youth tend to be closed-in by buildings, buses and bulldozers. Nature is the perfect playground for them to more fully challenge their brains in a healthy way to develop their learning skills. Because movement and learning go hand-in-hand, nature affords young people the ability to move more freely, without worry of getting hurt or hurting others. Additionally, inner-city youth are under a great deal of stress. Nature is the perfect playground to release their pent-up energy safely and freely. Additionally, by being out in nature – especially at night – children learn to develop the virtue of, "awe". It's important for inner-city youth to begin to contemplate that nature does not only include the earth, but also includes a vast and mysterious universe that needs to be explored.

------------
Bob Cabeza is Vice President of Community Development at the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and Founder of the Youth Institute. The Youth Institute is a year-round program that uses technology as an integral mechanism for promoting positive youth development and developing pathways to post secondary education and career readiness of low-income, culturally diverse urban high school youth. They built their program culture by exposing their youth to wilderness experiences. 

Brad Lupien is President and CEO at arcarc is an after school and experiential education provider. They bridge the opportunity gap by creating transformational learning opportunities that empower youth to realize their full potential. They rely heavily on engaging youth in outdoor sports and wilderness activities.

Ashanti Branch is Founder and Executive Director at Ever Forward Club. Founded in 2004, the Ever Forward Club mentors young men of color in middle and high school by providing them with safe, brave communities that build character and transform lives.  

Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC, is Co-Founder of Young Men's Ultimate Weekend (YMUW). The purpose of YMUW is to provide young men with a weekend filled with incredible fun and challenges, while building a foundation for a confident and successful adulthood, through learning the importance of teamwork, developing a sense of accomplishment and acquiring leadership skills.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Strategies for Promoting Social-Emotional and Character Skills

By Sam Piha
Sam Piha
There is a growing consensus among school day and expanded learning educators that young people need social-emotional and character skills to be successful in school, work, and life.
The 360°/365 Project and Temescal Associates are offering a number of educational and training events for expanded learning program staff:
JOIN US AT BOOST
DAY I, Workshop 1: April 19th, 2017; 10:30-12:15 - Let’s Zoom in on Trust: The Role of Trusting Relationships in Expanded Learning
DAY I, Workshop 2: April 19th, 2017; 2:45 – 4:45 - Screening of Finding the Gold Within and Discussion

Day II, Workshop 1: April 20th, 2017; 10:00 – 12:00 - Social and Emotional Learning: Feedback and Communications Insights from the Field

Day II, Workshop 2: April 20th, 2017; 1:15 – 2:30 - Transforming Schools Through Restorative Practices and Engaging Youth Voice and Leadership

Day II, Workshop 3: April 20th, 2017; 3:45 – 5:15 - Promoting Success in School, Work, and Life!
Day III, Workshop 1: April 21st, 2017; 9:15 – 11:15 - I Belong
SPEAKER’S FORUMS
These Forums offer access to national thinkers and researchers, innovative practitioners, and networking opportunities.
Dr. Dale Blyth
April 6, 2017 (Los Angeles); 9:00am-12:00pm 
Getting Intentional about Social and Emotional Learning: Promise, Progress, and Priorities with Dr. Dale Blyth
April 10, 2017 (Oakland); 9:00am-12:30pm 
Getting Intentional about Social and Emotional Learning: Promise, Progress, and Priorities with Dr. Dale Blyth

April 28th, 2017 (Fresno); 9:00am-12:00pm
Ignite Learning with a Growth Mindset! with Emily Diehl (Mindset Works). Click here to request more information.


May 3rd, 2017 (Oakland); 9:00am-12:00pm
"Growth Heartset": Establishing a Culture of Caring with Stu Semigran

REQUESTS FOR ON-SITE TRAINING
The 360°/365 Project offers a number of no-cost and low-cost professional development training for expanded learning programs. These trainings are offered by CalSAC, Temescal Associates, and ASAPconnect. You can use this link to request more information.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Advocacy in the Era of Trump, Part 2

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
Throughout its history, afterschool has always had to promote its value and identity around the issues of the day. With each change in the presidential administration, there are risks and opportunities that we should be aware of, and adjust our advocacy accordingly.

President Trump communicated his ideas using very specific language during his campaign and transition. Is there anything we can learn about how best to advocate for afterschool funding? In this new era of Trump, we asked Betsy Brand, Executive Director of the American Youth Policy Forum, and Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, about this. Below is part 2 of their responses. See part 1 here.

Q: President Trump also talks a lot about jobs. Do you think it will be important to stress "workforce development" and "workforce skills" that are part of afterschool?
Betsy Brand, AYPF

Betsy Brand: Afterschool programs are natural venues for helping older youth develop knowledge, skills, and abilities that lead to success in the workplace, life, and community. Skills like teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking are all highly valued by employers. Afterschool and summer school programs can help develop those skills. We should not be shy in telling that story.



Jodi Grant,
Afterschool Alliance
Jodi Grant: Absolutely. Many of the character education, social emotional learning and youth development skills that afterschool programs focus on are just as essential to workforce preparation. Making that connection for people — framing those skills and this learning as workforce development — makes a lot of sense. The same is true for all the opportunities provided to our youth to learn about, intern, apprentice in the community, and even work as part of their afterschool programs. That’s why the National Afterschool Summit, to be held at the University of Southern California on April 5th, will focus on making sure our students are ready to work. 


Photo Credit: Youth Institute, Long Beach 

Q: The "red" rural counties were strong supporters of President Trump. Do you think that promoting access to afterschool in rural areas is important, given the new political climate? 

Betsy Brand: Promoting access to high quality afterschool in rural communities is not a red or blue issue – it’s an issue of fairness and accessibility. The challenge is that many rural communities don’t have lots of afterschool providers like suburbs and cities, so it is hard to provide engaging, high quality afterschool programs. State afterschool, education, and youth leaders can work with rural communities to help develop their capacity to better serve youth and ensure they have opportunities for meaningful participation in the non-school hours.


Photo Credit: Brilliant Maps

Jodi Grant: Promoting access to rural areas has always been vital and, in fact, the Afterschool Alliance has issued several reports, including one just last year, America After 3PM Special Report: The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities, highlighting the unique challenges students and parents in rural America face in their pursuit of high quality afterschool programs.  We hope that the President and Secretary DeVos will embrace afterschool as a way to enhance education in rural America.  


--------------
URGENT UPDATE FROM THE AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE
"President Trump has just unveiled his budget priorities—and his plan singles out afterschool funding for elimination." To learn more, click here


LIAS will also be posting a blog on these developments.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Advocacy in the Era of Trump, Part 1

By Sam Piha

Sam  Piha
Throughout its history, afterschool has always had to promote its value and identity around the issues of the day. With each change in the Presidential administration, there are risks and opportunities that we should be aware of, and adjust our advocacy accordingly.

President Trump communicated his ideas using very specific language during his campaign and transition. Is there anything we can learn about how best to advocate for afterschool funding? In this new era of Trump, we asked Betsy Brand, Executive Director of the American Youth Policy Forum, and Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, about this. Below is part 1 of their responses. 

Q: The new President appears to have a high regard for law enforcement. Law enforcement officials were strong advocates at the federal and state level for afterschool. Do you envision that we will again engage law enforcement organizations in the effort to preserve the federal 21st CCLC funding?
Betsy Brand, AYPF

Betsy Brand: As the new Administration focuses on improving safety in our communities, it seems a natural step to talk about how afterschool programs involve youth in positive and engaging activities, in the non-school hours. Law enforcement can be an important advocate for 21st CCLC funding and effective partners that bring valuable skills and resources to the table, not just in this political climate but anytime.


Jodi Grant,
Afterschool Alliance
Jodi Grant: Law enforcement officials have been strong partners for afterschool all along because they recognize how important it is for youth to engage constructively with their peers and with adults. Across the country a lot of afterschool programs have strong relationships with law enforcement agencies, ranging from Police Athletic League programs to partnerships with local police. One great thing about bringing police officers into programs, often as volunteers, is that it fosters powerful personal relationships that can not only change lives, but change the discourse between police, youth and parents. It’s an example of community policing at its best. 

For more than a year the Afterschool Alliance’s blog has been featuring stories of afterschool programs working with local law enforcement. (The most recent story can be found here.) We value the partnerships not just because of the terrific work that police are doing with kids in afterschool programs, but because it’s so important for the public to understand the reach of afterschool programs. The messenger can be as important as the message, and law enforcement voices are going to be more essential than ever in helping us preserve federal afterschool funding.  


Photo Credit: http://www.stlasap.org/
Q: President Trump talks a lot about crime, safety, and drug abuse. Do you predict that we will need to return to a "deficit" or prevention model to capture his attention to preserve afterschool funding?

Betsy Brand: We should not return to a deficit model, but rather focus on the benefits of afterschool in terms of helping young people find engaging, satisfying, and meaningful activities in which they can participate during the non-school hours and that help them develop skills that lead to success. The deficit model language should be retired once and for all.

Jodi Grant: Afterschool programs are effective and popular because they keep kids safe, help working parents and inspire students to learn. While today, a lot of policymakers think about afterschool in terms of the third prong of that message, it was actually the first two prongs that generated the political will to create a federal funding stream for afterschool. Students spend 80 percent of their waking hours outside school and they are always learning – every minute. So the question is: What will we teach them? They can learn skills at an afterschool program that will help them succeed in school, at work and in life or, if we leave them unsupervised, they can engage in activities that are inappropriate, dangerous or even illegal, and learn a very different set of lessons. As the President focuses on crime, drug abuse and other ills in our society, it is important for us to highlight the impact that afterschool has in teaching the right lessons and in preventing inappropriate behavior in our students.  

From a communications standpoint, if highlighting negative consequences can help us build support to provide resources to the 11.3 million children who go home alone each day and are unsupervised when they get there, then it is worth making that argument. 

Once we have our students in a safe place, we can do so much more to inspire them to get out of their comfort zones and achieve dreams that might not have been possible before. 

--------------
URGENT UPDATE FROM THE AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE
"President Trump has just unveiled his budget priorities—and his plan singles out afterschool funding for elimination." To learn more, click here

LIAS will also be posting a blog on these developments.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Global Competency, Part 2: Resources for Expanded Learning Programs

By Sam Piha
Sam Piha
If young people are going to be prepared for work and citizenship in our global community, it is important that they develop global competency. 

Below is part 2 of our interview with Heather Loewecke, Senior Program Manager of Afterschool and Youth Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society. It is important to note that the effort to promote global competency is not a "pile on" to the California Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs. Instead, global learning and global competency are intertwined with the existing standards for quality programs.

In Heather's response to our question about resources, she listed a great list with links. We urge any program leader who wants to explore global competency further, to check out these resources. To view her PowerPoint presentation that she offered at our recent How Kids Learn VI conference in Los Angeles, click here

Q: What would be examples of how an afterschool program might
Heather Loewecke
promote global competence? 

A: Here are several ways programs can start integrating global content into programs:

Create a Culturally Sensitive Environment
Staff and youth can work together to create a set of group guidelines that outline expected behaviors. Include strategies for asking respectful questions about people, cultures, or ideas that are unfamiliar. Introduce youth to new countries and cultures, including those of students in your program and of people in the community at large. Present balanced viewpoints during learning activities and remind participants that everyone’s ideas are valid. If possible, include decorations and snacks from different cultures around the world and set up space to promote collaboration.

Make Community Connections
Take stock of existing partners and stakeholders or conduct a community assessment to identify additional potential assets and partners in the community. Invite partners to events and festivals or to be guest speakers in the program to share their global connections and resources. Take youth on field trips to museums, nearby neighborhoods, and local businesses to enhance and deepen learning. Coordinate with local schools or nonprofit organizations to set up service learning efforts that promote youth’s civic participation to address local issues while increasing their leadership skills. Develop partnerships with programs in other cities or countries to provide participants with virtual exchange opportunities with peers. 


Photo Credit: Asia Society

Integrate Global Learning into Existing Activities
Go beyond flags, food, and festivals. It’s not necessary to overhaul all activities or create new programming to get started doing global learning in afterschool, but it is important to provide sustained and regular global learning activities in order to develop youth's global competencies. Start by focusing on one programming component or learning unit:

  • Is there an example or a piece of content in an activity that could be replaced with one from another country or culture?
  • Could an activity be augmented through the addition of a globally oriented extension project or field trip?
  • Or, perhaps an activity could be transformed by aligning an existing goal or outcome with one of the global competencies listed above.

For example, read folktales and poems from other countries during literacy time. Or, include games from other cultures in your health and fitness component. During cooking club, teach students to prepare healthy foods from other cultures.

Design Thematic and Project-Based Learning Units
Once staff are comfortable infusing global content into existing activities, they can go deeper by using globally significant topics when planning new activities. Topics such as water access, human rights, health care, and education are relevant both globally and locally and increase youth’s academic knowledge and social-emotional skills such as empathy and compassion. Teaching about these issues across program areas helps young people to become informed, global citizens through integrated and interdisciplinary study.

Develop these topics further into project-based learning units that begin with an essential question or problem that interests participants and guides them through research toward an action project.


Photo Credit: Asia Society
Q: Does Asia Society have any resources on global learning for the expanded learning community?
A: Yes! Here are a few resources to support the suggestions noted above:
  • Global leadership performance outcomes and rubrics benchmarked at grades 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12. Use these when planning learning units and giving feedback to youth on their projects.
  • Global learning “quick sheets”: One‐page examples of developmentally appropriate unit plan outlines in typical afterschool content areas. Each activity in the unit builds upon the last, connects across the four domains of global competence, and leads to sample program outcomes. We developed these with the support of the Statewide Afterschool Networks, and we are creating more. 
  • “Global Learning in Afterschool Self‐Assessment Tool”: Programs can use this tool to reflect upon their practice and guide the development of quality improvement measures. It can be used in conjunction with other quality improvement processes and self‐assessment tools.
  • Expanding Horizons: Building Global Literacy in Afterschool Programs: This guidebook lists strategies and resources for the afterschool field on how to integrate international knowledge, skills, and experiences into its program activities.
Take a look at our global learning blog on national newspaper Education Week, follow us on Twitter, and join in to our weekly Twitter chat (#globaledchat) Thursdays at 8pm ET / 5pm PT for more ideas from practitioners and education leaders. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at HLoewecke@asiasociety.org.

____________
Heather began her career as an English teacher at a high school in New York City where she implemented interdisciplinary curricula utilizing a workshop format for developing students’ literacy skills. Then she managed capacity building projects and coached educators in various topics such as conflict resolution, lesson planning, social-emotional learning, behavior management, among others. Heather was a member of the Children’s Studies faculty at Brooklyn College and taught an undergraduate course called Perspectives on Childhood. She joined Asia Society in 2012. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Our Favorite LIAS Blogs of 2016

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
To date, we have attracted 224,723 views of our blog posts. In 2016, we published 35 blog posts. Below is a summary of our favorite posts.  

What Is the Connection Between Social and Emotional Learning and Employability? 
(January 19, 2016) 
Recently, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) developed an employability skills framework and created a website to assist educators and youth workers with tools to promote these skills in their settings. Read more.

Mindfulness in Afterschool (February 22, 2016)
There is a growing trend in research and practice that shows that mindfulness is a very useful tool in school-based settings but few have translated this into afterschool programs. Temescal Associates has developed a 16-week mindfulness curriculum for afterschool workers and a two-day training – one day for the use of mindfulness techniques for the self-care of adult staff, and one day for staff who will lead young people in mindfulness activities. Read more.

Understanding Gender Identity: An Interview with a Child Development Specialist, Part 1 (March 18, 2016)
There is a growing awareness in our society that gender is more than the sex that is assigned at birth. Gender identity is no longer an esoteric concept for child development experts. The importance of understanding gender identity is increasingly important for educators and leaders of youth programs. Read more.

Preparing Youth for Work and Career Success (June 27, 2016)
I first met Bill Fennessy when he innovated a new high school afterschool program in Pasadena, CA. Bill was part of the first run of ASSETs programs - before people knew what high school afterschool was. He subsequently joined THINK Together as their Director of Community Engagement. Read more.

Why "All Lives Matter" is Controversial (July 27, 2016)
We have all heard people respond to the phrase Black Lives Matter, with the phrase All Lives Matter. This has led to controversy, but many people do not understand why. Read more.


The Year of Living Dangerously (November 17, 2016)
The last year has been one of incredible violence and hate speech. Much of this has been graphically reported in the media and has greatly effected young people. There have been a series of mass killings in Charlotte, Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris and elsewhere. There have been a number of shootings by the police of unarmed civilians captured on video. Read more.

The Importance of the Arts 
(December 8, 2016)
We know that the arts in all forms (digital arts, performing arts, fine arts, etc.) and art making is important in the healthy development of children and youth, in fact our whole society. Art making is truth telling and provides all youth, especially those without a voice, an opportunity to express themselves. Read more.