Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

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.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME (CYD-OST)



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. 
Related Standards:
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. 
The program’s practices reflect full implementation of the standard. 
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
Practice requires significant improvement.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • A description of the program climate, including program leaders efforts to establish a positive climate
  • Program climate assessment tools
  • Documentation that program leaders have sought stakeholder input regarding the program climate
  • Improvement/corrective action plans, if applicable
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator
    2. Site Director
    3. Program Personnel
    4. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe program space, interactions, and activities