Standards for child and youth development programs
Out-of-School Time (CYD-OST) 2: Program Climate
The program’s 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.
Program leaders can demonstrate that they are committed to establishing a positive program 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.
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.
Note: Please note that practices that support the development of a positive progam climate are included throughout CYD-OST. For example, see CYD-OST 3 regarding the importance of building supportive relationships between children and youth and adults; CYD-OST 4 regarding the importance of establishing a respectful and inclusive culture that encourages positive behaviors and interactions; CYD-OST 5 regarding the importance of employing positive approaches to behavior management; CYD-OST 6 regarding the importance of involving and meeting the needs of program participants’ families; CYD-OST 8 regarding the importance of ensuring children and youth are engaged in activities that support learning and positive development; and CYD-OST 9, 10, 11, and 12 regarding the program environment.
Literature emphasizes that a positive climate will support learning and development, and is shaped by a number of different factors. The National School Climate Center (NSCC) envisions a positive school climate as being comprised of the following essential elements: (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. NSCC also highlights the importance of a school’s administration and staff, noting that leaders should articulate a clear vision and ensure staff are appropriately developed and supported, and that staff should work together in a positive and effective manner.