Thursday, June 30, 2022

Youth Work Basics

By Sam Piha

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with afterschool programs. The one silver lining was the abundance of online professional development resources that were created and made available online.

According to many program leaders, they are now working to refill staff positions. This will require training drawing on “youth work basics.” Below we offer one such “youth work basic”- the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) Learning Principles, as well as discussion questions and some assessment tools. 

I think that the Learning Principles in the Learning in Afterschool and Summer Project really get at the core of learning for students starting in early childhood going through the university.” – Dr. Deborah Vandell, former Dean of the School of Education, UC Irvine, and leading afterschool researcher

We invite you to view this short video which reviews the importance of the LIAS Learning Principles taken from interviews with afterschool and educational leaders and The LIAS Learning Principles Position Statement which details each of the 5 LIAS Learning Principles and serves as an excellent handout for program staff, parents and other stakeholders. 

About the LIAS Learning Principles
We know that most afterschool youth programs are dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of young people. Several years ago, we conducted a literature review specifically focused on young people’s learning. We distilled what we learned into 5 Learning Principles. They are designed to guide the development of quality afterschool programs. 

We believe that these principles are both universal and evergreen. Thus, we were pleased to read the article in the Signal Tribune entitled, LBUSD Will Expand After-School Programs Districtwide, Asks for Parent Input. The article quoted Cindy Young, LBUSD senior director of Early Childhood and Extended Learning, in which she cited the LIAS Learning Principles as the standard undergirding their afterschool programs. 

OTHER LIAS RESOURCES: The LIAS Learning Principles are foundational to anyone designing and implementing youth programs. These additional resources below can be shared with all program staff and stakeholders.

Dr. Pedro Noguera
OST Leaders Discussing the LIAS Principles (compilation)
Out of School time leaders discuss the importance and impact of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Principles in and out of the classroom. This video (18 min) features interviews with leaders Tom Torlakson, former Superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education; Dr. Deborah Vandell, Professor of Education and Psychology and former Dean of the School of Education at UC Irvine; Andi Fletcher, Afterschool and Educational Consultant for the Center for Collaborative Solutions; Carol Tang, Director of The Coalition for Science After School; Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of Partnership for Children and Youth; Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at USC; Paul Heckman, Associate Dean and Professor at UC Davis; Steve Amick, Director of School District Partnerships at THINK Together; and many more! 

Dr. Deborah Vandell
Individual Interviews with OST Leaders Discuss the LIAS Principles
On our LIAS Youtube channel are 21 individual video interviews (3-17 min) with OST leaders (see above) sharing their thoughts on the LIAS Learning Principles.

WRITTEN DOCS/PAPERS: Afterschool Programs that Reflect the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles
This paper (49 pages) describes the practices of actual afterschool programs that exemplify the learning principles promoted by the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) Learning Principles. This paper offers some background and a full description of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer project and its five learning principles that should define quality afterschool programming. 

A Crosswalk Between the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles and Afterschool Quality Measurement Tools
This paper (8 pages) identifies the overlap between the LIAS Learning Principles with items in six program quality measurement tools that serve as good examples of measurement tools for afterschool programs.

Summer Programs That Reflect the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles
This paper (16 pages) highlights the wide variety of ways in which California summer learning programs are using the LIAS principles to engage and inspire learning in young people.

LIAS BLOGS: These blogs focus on the issues regarding the LIAS Learning Principles.

Millions of professionals and volunteers work with young people every day in the many settings where youth play, learn, and grow outside of the school day. Yet, we have little collective information about this essential workforce. You can help change this!”- California Afterschool Network

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