Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (PA-OST) 6: Positive Approaches to Guiding Behavior

Personnel use positive techniques to guide and manage behavior.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME SERVICES (PA-OST)

VIEW THE STANDARDS

Purpose

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.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for guiding and managing behavior
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe program interactions and activities
  • Review files of children and youth

PA-OST 6.01

Personnel observe children and youth and their behaviors, and support and encourage positive choices and behavior by:
  1. maintaining high expectations for children and youth;
  2. recognizing and reinforcing positive behavior; and
  3. providing individualized guidance and support to encourage engagement and help prevent problems, as needed.
Note: See PA-OST 4 and PA-OST 9 for more information regarding the importance of using a variety of strategies to ensure that all children and youth are appropriately and sufficiently engaged in the program.

PA-OST 6.02

When concerning behaviors or conflicts arise, personnel determine:
  1. when children and youth can be left alone or quickly redirected;
  2. when children and youth can be encouraged to resolve situations on their own; and
  3. when it is necessary to intervene.

Interpretation

When children and youth experience conflicts personnel should typically encourage them to try to resolve the situation on their own, and step in only as needed. However, personnel should also take care to ensure that the situation is resolved effectively. It is also important to note that children and youth should never be encouraged to find a mutually-agreeable solution on their own if there is a power imbalance between them, as addressed in PA-OST 6.06.

PA-OST 6.03

When it is necessary to intervene in a situation, personnel: 
  1. remain calm and patient;
  2. refrain from publicly criticizing children and youth, to the extent possible;
  3. acknowledge the feelings of children and youth;
  4. help children and youth cool down, as needed;
  5. speak with children and youth to learn their perspectives regarding what caused the situation; and
  6. consider whether there are any underlying causes or circumstances that may have triggered or contributed to the situation.

PA-OST 6.04

In an effort to prevent future incidents and maintain a positive program climate, responses to concerning behavior include:
  1. viewing incidents as learning opportunities that can help improve how children and youth behave and relate to others;
  2. helping children and youth reflect upon why the incident occurred, the impact of their actions, what they can do differently next time, and what support is needed to make that change;
  3. helping children and youth take responsibility for their actions in ways that are respectful, appropriate to age and developmental level, and related to the behavior in question;
  4. helping children and youth repair their relationships with their peers and the program community;
  5. considering and addressing the needs and circumstances of all involved, including balancing accountability for actions with an understanding of the factors and underlying causes that may have contributed to those actions; and
  6. avoiding the use of exclusionary or overly-punitive consequences (e.g., suspension), to the extent possible.
Examples: While some agencies will have pre-determined consequences for specific behaviors, it may be more appropriate to individualize consequences based on the specific needs and circumstances of children and youth, and to involve children and youth in determining consequences designed to help youth take responsibility for their actions and repair any harm that occurred. For example, a youth who has vandalized the restroom might meet with the custodian to learn about the extent and costs of the damage done, and to assist with needed repairs.

PA-OST 6.05

In an effort to meet the needs of children and youth with a history of trauma, personnel: 
  1. are able to recognize when a child or youth may have experienced trauma;
  2. understand the impact of trauma, including the impact trauma can have on child learning and behavior; and
  3. balance accountability for actions with an understanding of the way past trauma may have contributed to those actions.
Note: Agencies can also support children and youth with a history of trauma by facilitating access to needed services, as addressed in PA-OST 7.04.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 6.06

Personnel are able to recognize when a child or youth may be experiencing bullying, and: 
  1. intervene immediately and appropriately with those involved (i.e., the bully, the victim, and any bystanders);
  2. document the incident(s), following clear procedures regarding when a situation should be reported to school-day personnel or other applicable authorities;
  3. follow up individually with the involved children and youth to make sure the bullying does not continue and address both the causes and any negative effects of the bullying; and
  4. collaborate with families, other program personnel, and other relevant partners to monitor the situation and address any issues and effects.
Examples: Bullying can be physically and psychologically harmful, and may take different forms – from physical assaults, to rumor spreading and social exclusion, to mean-spirited teasing, jokes, or name calling (e.g., racist or sexist jokes, or mocking someone’s abilities). It is also important to remember that bullying can occur both in-person and electronically (e.g., via social media).

PA-OST 6.07

When children and youth have special behavioral needs, personnel provide additional support and individualized interventions, as needed.

Interpretation

All possible accommodations and interventions should be exhausted before it is decided that a particular child or youth is not appropriate for the program. As noted in PA-OST 3.05, agencies are expected to accommodate all children and youth unless: (1) an individual poses a safety threat to him/herself or others, (2) the accommodations needed would result in a fundamental alteration to the program, or (3) the accommodations needed would put an undue financial burden on the agency. If an enrolled child or youth is unable to be successful in the program, personnel should: (1) initiate a conversation with both the child or youth and his/her family, and (2) make every effort to ensure that the family obtains information about programs and services that may be more appropriate for the child or youth.
Examples: Appropriate responses may vary, depending on the child or youth and the situation. In some cases it may make sense to partner with children, families, and other involved providers to develop behavior management plans that include specific strategies for supporting behavior based on individual needs and circumstances.