Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
Examples: Personnel may demonstrate warm, active engagement in a number of ways, such as calling children and youth by name; acknowledging children and youth when they arrive and depart; projecting a tone of welcome and cheer in their voices and gestures; using kind and supportive language; showing interest in what children and youth say and do; spending most of program time interacting with children and youth (including both during activities and when snacks are served); and taking care not to intrude on, interrupt, dismiss, belittle, or distance themselves from children and youth.
In an effort to truly get to know children and youth, personnel take the time to:
give children and youth individualized attention;
check in with children and youth to see how they are doing;
ask open-ended questions that encourage children and youth to share information about their lives, cultures, feelings, perspectives, needs, and interests; and
pay close attention to what children and youth say and do, making a special effort to learn about their individual interests, abilities, temperaments, learning styles, and needs, including any special needs they may have.
Examples: Personnel can demonstrate implementation of this standard by, for example, expressing interest in children’s and youths’ cultures and experiences, encouraging children and youth to pursue their interests, respecting the different ways children and youth express their feelings, assessing a child’s or youth’s feelings before attempting to solve a problem; comforting children and youth who appear upset or disappointed, accepting a child’s or youth’s desire to be alone, and modifying actions in ways designed to nurture, include, and engage all children and youth regardless of their ability or temperament.
In an effort to ensure personnel maintain clear and appropriate boundaries with children and youth, the organization establishes a policy that:
emphasizes that the role of personnel is to be a coach, instructor, and role model rather than a peer or friend;
encourages relationships and interactions that serve the needs of children and youth, rather than the needs of personnel;
outlines the type of conduct that would be deemed unacceptable; and
addresses contact both at and outside of the program, including contact that might occur via telephone or electronic communications and postings.