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.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
Procedures need strengthening; or
With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
Timeframes are often missed; or
Several client records are missing important information; or
Client participation is inconsistent.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
Program rules and behavioural expectations
Program climate assessment tools
Documentation that leaders have sought stakeholder input regarding the program climate
Improvement/corrective action plans regarding program climate, if applicable
Interviews may include:
Children, youth, and families
Observe program space and activities
Observe interactions of children and youth with peers and personnel
Program space, materials, and activities are designed to be welcoming to and supportive of all children and youth regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, sexual orientation, disability, or ability.
Examples: Diversity can be incorporated and embraced throughout all aspects of the program, from the pictures displayed, to the books read, to the games and music played, to the holidays celebrated, to the food served.
The organization supports positive behaviour by establishing a consistent routine that:
is clearly communicated to children, youth, and families;
supports achievement of program goals;
encourages active participation and engagement;
provides stability and predictability;
includes time for children and youth to settle in and adjust upon arrival;
facilitates smooth transitions and minimizes the need for waiting or rushing; and
allows children and youth to meet their physical needs (e.g., for water, food, or the restroom) in a relaxed way.
Participants should be prepared in advance when changes or exceptions to the daily routine will occur.
Children and youth are involved in developing, and helped to understand, rules and behavioural expectations that:
establish clear expectations for interactions and behaviour;
are designed to encourage the development of a safe, caring, respectful, and inclusive environment that supports self-expression and learning; and
are appropriate to the ages and developmental levels of program participants, as well as to the goals of the program.
In an effort to facilitate the development of peer relationships and foster a sense of community, children and youth are provided with opportunities to:
socialize with their peers; and
participate in structured community-building activities such as introductions, icebreakers, or community circles.
Examples: Opportunities to practise handling and expressing emotions will likely occur within the context of social interactions with peers (as addressed in CA-OST 5.04) and program activities (as addressed in CA-OST 9), as well as within the context of managing interpersonal conflicts and behaviour-related challenges, as addressed in CA-OST 6.
Personnel support children and youth in developing empathy, openness, and respect for others by:
explaining that all people are unique individuals;
helping children and youth learn about diversity and difference, including diversity of perspectives, cultures, temperaments, needs, and abilities;
modelling inclusiveness and respect for difference;
teaching children and youth to be kind and stand up for others; and
facilitating opportunities for children and youth to listen to and learn about the experiences, feelings, and perspectives of others.
Examples: Personnel can facilitate opportunities for program participants to listen to and learn from one another by engaging children and youth in explicit discussions, as well as by encouraging children and youth to interact with their peers, including those who may be perceived as “different” (e.g., children and youth with special needs, children and youth with different personalities or temperaments, or children and youth who speak a different language). In addition to learning about the experiences, feelings, and perspectives of peers and personnel, the organization can also facilitate opportunities for children and youth to learn about the experiences of others by providing resources that illustrate different perspectives and cultures, or inviting guests with different backgrounds or experiences to visit.
Personnel use modelling, instruction, practise, and coaching to help children and youth develop interpersonal skills and knowledge that facilitate appropriate interactions and collaboration, including:
treating others with fairness and respect;
understanding social norms and cues;
demonstrating an awareness of different perspectives and cultures;
listening actively and deeply, without interrupting;
effectively conveying their points of view; and
resolving conflicts and disagreements.
Program and organizational leaders demonstrate a commitment to establishing a positive climate that allows all children and youth to feel socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually safe and supported.
Leaders can demonstrate that they are committed to establishing a positive climate by: (1) proactively establishing and communicating values that underlie a positive climate and are sensitive to the cultures of program participants; (2) identifying and implementing practices that support those values and foster the development of a positive climate; (3) seeking the input of children, youth, and families regarding the climate that exists at the program; and (4) implementing improvement/corrective action plans to address any problems or negative elements.
Examples: According to the National School Climate Center (NSCC), factors that contribute to a positive school climate include: (1) respect for diversity; (2) rules and norms that are clearly communicated and consistently enforced; (3) a sense of safety, including physical, social, and emotional safety; (4) supportive and caring relationships with adults; (5) supportive relationships with peers; (6) encouragement for the development of social and emotional learning; (7) supportive teaching practices; (8) a sense of connection with the school; and (9) an adequate physical environment, including both facilities and resources.
Note:Please note that practices that support the development of a positive program climate are included throughout CA-OST. For example, see CA-OST 4 regarding the importance of building supportive relationships between children and youth and adults, CA-OST 5.01 through CA-OST 5.07 regarding the importance of establishing a respectful and inclusive culture that encourages positive behaviours and interactions, CA-OST 6 regarding the importance of employing positive approaches to guiding behaviour, CA-OST 7 regarding the importance of involving and meeting the needs of program participants’ families, CA-OST 9 regarding the importance of ensuring children and youth are engaged in activities that support learning and positive development, and CA-OST 16,CA-OST 17, and CA-OST 18 regarding the program environment.