Tuesday, November 29, 2022

More On Learning Loss and Afterschool

Source: Fab Youth Philly

By Sam Piha

There is a lot of concern that the COVID disruption resulted in significant learning loss and mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.). Should afterschool shift their focus to learning loss and academic support and move away from promoting a sense of safety, belonging and offering learning in non- academic areas?

Rebecca Fabiano
We asked Rebecca Fabiano, who is a respected afterschool leader and founder of FAB Youth Philly, to share her thoughts on these questions. Fab Youth Philly focuses three things: support youth-serving organizations through a variety of consulting services; connect youth development professionals to training and networking, and innovate summer and afterschool programming for children & teens. Rebecca has over 25 years of experience working in the afterschool field.


"I think afterschool should lean into its tradition of supporting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and promoting a sense of safety & belonging as a primary goal and supporting academics as a secondary goal. The afterschool field has a long history of creating spaces that encourage and promote physical and emotional safety and center relationship building as a key tool in this effort. 

Source: Fab Youth Philly

Afterschool staff often serve as critical supports and advocates for youths’ social and mental well-being and should continue to do so. They can also serve as a bridge between the school day and non-school day activities, such as academic support, including things like SAT test prep. They can partner with other organizations that provide tutoring or special academic supports to offer that either during the day or afterschool, as afterschool programs often have flexibility in terms of partnerships, hiring, funding, etc. that school systems do not have.   

Afterschool programs should respond to learning loss and mental health concerns by continuing to center positive, trusting relationships between young people and their peers and with caring adults. They should also include youth in conversations about their own mental health needs and wishes. From there, they may offer, depending on their expertise and comfort, workshops or counseling services to meet these requests. Afterschool programs can also do some additional leg work to identify resources for youth that include multilingual resources, supports for LGBTQ, undocumented and other particularly and traditionally vulnerable youth. This might include resources for the whole family."

To learn more about Rebecca Fabiano and Fab Youth Philly, click here.

MORE ABOUT
For nearly 25 years, Rebecca Fabiano (She/Her/Hers) has worked in various capacities across nonprofit and youth-serving organizations, served on boards and helped to build solid youth programs that engage, encourage, and create spaces for positive development. As a program leader, she has successfully raised funds and managed program budgets; hired and supervised staff; developed and sustained strong community partnerships and designed award-winning programming. 

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