Research and evaluation are critical to understanding, improving and growing a policy, a program or an organization. Federal, state and local government; as well as foundations and other public and private sector funding agencies are increasingly asking for this information that will give them greater insight into outcomes and the impact of their investment.
 

Afterschool Alliance understands the importance of research and evaluation in the afterschool field and “Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices” synthesizes the findings of research covering hundreds of afterschool programs. The report highlights the positive results of these programs on the students who participate in them and outlines the promising practices associated with quality programs.
 

The report is divided into three sections: the first section reviews evaluations that assess outcomes of students who participate in afterschool programs, the second section presents a summary of promising practices of afterschool programs based on a synthesis of existing research, and the third section provides detailed examples of afterschool programs implementing each promising practice.
 

Outcomes reviewed in the first section are:

    1. 1. School engagement, including attendance and likelihood of staying in school;
    2. 2. Student behavior, including participation in at-risk behaviors, such as criminal activity, gang involvement, drug and alcohol use, or sexual activity; and
    3. 3. Academic performance, including test scores, grades, graduation rates and college enrollment.

 

The first section includes evaluations of programs from across the country. From LA’s BEST in California, to Higher Achievement in the Washington, D.C., metro area, these afterschool programs demonstrate the numerous positive benefits associated with participation in afterschool, such as missing fewer days of school, decreased disciplinary incidents, gains in academic performance, and increased likelihood of being promoted to the next grade and graduating from high school.
 

The second section focuses on determining why afterschool programs have a positive impact on children, looking at the following promising practices of effective programs:

     

  • •Intentional programming/strong program design, which includes identifying and targeting specific goals and outcomes, providing variation in activities and using engaging programming to encourage regular attendance;
  • •Staff quality, which includes staff ability to connect positively with children, the program’s professional development efforts and staff experience;
  • •Effective partnerships with schools, community organizations and families; and
  • •Rigorous program evaluation and ongoing program improvement.

 

Also included in the report are detailed examples of promising practices in action. For example, the AfterZone in Providence, Rhode Island, is a citywide afterschool initiative that leverages community partnerships. The program is offered at multiple community facilities within a specified area, allowing students to take part in afterschool activities located at the “anchor” middle school or at libraries, art centers, museums and other community organizations. There are more than 70 community-based organizations that offer students access to free programs that range from building solar-powered go-carts to learning how to play the guitar.
 

To learn more about the positive impact and promising practices of afterschool programs, you can check out the full report.
 

Source: Afterschool Alliance Blog



Looking for a cute and creative homemade Father’s Day gift idea? This project is fun, easy and you’re likely to have all the materials on hand!
 
Father's Day
 

Materials:
 
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1/4 cup water
• bowl
• cookie sheet
• 1/2 cup pea gravel
 

Instructions:
 
1. Mix flour, salt and water together in a bowl. If dough is too sticky add small amounts of flour until it is doughy and pliable. Be careful not to add too much as the dough will dry out and your creation will crack.
 

2. Shape a piece of the dough into a ball in your hands. Place the ball on the cookie sheet and flatten to about 1/2″ thickness.
 

3. Select pieces of pea gravel to spell out “DAD ROCKS”. Press them firmly but gently into the salt dough.
 

4. Bake for 2-2.5 hours until completely dry.
 

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling or removing from cookie sheet.
 

6. Optional: Spray your creation with acrylic sealer or paint it with a clear coat sealer.
 

Source: craftsbyamanda.com



 


 

Summer enrichment program are becoming some of the most popular camps for kids who are looking for unique learning opportunities. Whether it’s sleep away or day camp, many kids are enrolling in enrichment camps that allow them to learn something new, discover a hidden talent or tap into their creative side.
 

Children can seek creative or academic opportunities for their summer camp experience that range from dancing, cooking and painting to writing, learning a language or doing science experiments. There are many options, beyond traditional nature camps, that allow kids to explore or experience something new while having a great time.
 

Enrichment camps typically take on an approach to learning that’s different from school. Their interactive, engaging and energetic style keeps kids interested. In addition, they abide by the philosophy that discovery and learning must always be fun!
 

Enrichment camps let children learn and experiment with something new which can be stimulating and beneficial. Even better– camps that keep kids’ brains active can contribute to their success in the coming school year!
 

Find out about camps at your local KidzArt:
http://www.kidzart.com/location.php



Materials:

Egg Cartons
Scissors
Craft Paint
Paint Brushes
Paper Clip (or pencil)
Pipe Cleaners

 

1. Cut up egg cartons to separate the round cups from pyramid-shaped center pieces.
 

2. Create petals. Trim edges of the egg carton cups and then cut notches from the edge of the cup into the center to make the petals. Do the same with the pyramid-shaped pieces (which will be the center of the flower) or you can leave them whole.
 

3. Using varying colors, paint both parts of flower, front and back, and let dry completely.
 

4. Using a paper clip or pencil, poke two holes in center of each piece of the flower. Next, thread the pipe cleaner through the holes to attach the flower center to the petals and to make your stem. Pull the pipe cleaner taut and twist to secure.
 

5. Assemble your bouquet for a beautiful Mother’s Day gift!
 

Source: Scholastic.com




 

Supplies:
 

•Yellow washable paint
•Scissors
•A fork
•2 googly eyes
•Orange construction paper
•Glue
 

Instructions:
 

Have each child dip the back of a fork into yellow paint (spread paint out on a paper plate so it’s not too heavy). Make a circle shape, pulling from center outwards with the fork. The fork’s tong marks will make the feathers!
 

Fold the orange paper in half and cut out a triangle for the beak and two legs.
 

After the yellow paint is dry, glue on the googly eyes, beak and legs to make a little chick! Happy Spring!
 

Source: Sassydealz




 

Supplies:
 

•White and pink washable paint
•Colored construction paper
•Black sharpie
•Paintbrush
 

Instructions:
 

Paint a child’s hand (except the thumb) with white paint. Have him/her squeeze the pinky/ring fingers together and the pointer/middle fingers together when pressing down to make bunny ears.
 

Paint the bunny’s ears and nose with the pink paint. Let the paint dry. Draw the bunny’s eyes, mouth and whiskers with the black sharpie.
 

Adorable!
 

Source: SassyDealz



Did you know that March is Youth Art Month? That means that this is the perfect time to learn about and create your favorite kind of art. Need ideas to help you get started? Try one of these fun projects:
 

 

1. Visit an art museum.
 

2. Draw, color, paint, or sketch.
 

3. Make computer art on a website such as Pixlr, PicassoHead, or Scribbler.
 

4. Weave, sew, embroider, knit, or crochet.
 

5. Walking art. Let kids choose an outfit that emulates their favorite painting. Think soft pastels to celebrate Monet’s Water Lily Pond or a leotard and tights for Degas’ The Star.
 

6. Create a collage using this week’s junk mail.
 

7. Make a scare owl. It’s hard to believe but spring really is on the way. Get ready for gardening season with this cool nature craft.
 

8. Make your own art supplies. This site has recipes for everything from homemade paint to DIY glue.
 

9. Reuse paper towel tubes to make seed starters, napkin rings, or a puppet.
 

10. Hit the library to find a book on your favorite artist.
 

11. Try one of these wild winter art projects.
 

12. Chalk it up. If you can get to your sidewalk or driveway, use chalk to recreate your favorite painting — or whip up a brand new masterpiece.
 

13. Take an art tour of the world – check out art and artists from other countries with a virtual tour around the web.
 

14. Create edible art and turn lunch into a feast for the eyes and taste buds.
 

15. Take a walk and try your hand at one of these nifty nature crafts.
 

16. Make this href=”http://www.kiwicrate.com/projects/Shaving-Cream-Polar-Bear/819″>polar bear out of shaving cream.
 

17. Make your own coloring book to exchange with friends.
 

18. Sculpt, carve, or mold.
 

19. Get a head start on Easter with on of these eggcellent crafts.
 

20. Paint with a compass.
 

21. Make one of these yucky crafts.
 

22. Take a photo. Create a collage, or use your favorite app to filter, crop, and edit.
 

23. Make ‘cave paintings’ using homemade mud paint.
 

24. Create these raisin box maracas.
 

25. Try your hand at expressionism by drawing a portrait of someone in your life who inspires a mood or feeling.
 

26. Research and act out a scene from your favorite painting.
 

27. Bead, brocade, or bedazzle.
 

28. Make ice sculptures in the snow.
 

29. Create flowers out of empty toilet paper tubes.
 

30. Enjoy the art of everyday. The melting icicle, the spiral of your apple peel, or the smile on your daughter’s face.
 

Source: Jenn Savedge, Mother Nature Network



March is Youth Art Month in the United States, a time to promote the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs.  We believe that art should be an important and valued part of the lives of young people.  Art and creativity promote problem solving, encourage children to try new things, use their imaginations and overcome their inhibitions or obstacles in order to grow and learn.
 

 

 

Here are some ways to encourage your child to be creative through art:
 

 

Art Workspace
Create a physical work space for your child’s art activities. Have art materials and simple household items available in a workspace area where your child can relax with the art activity of their choice anytime.
 

 

Art Supplies
Creative supplies don’t all have to be store bought!  Common items like beads, buttons, cotton balls, boxes and old magazines can be great counterparts to crayons, markers and paint.  Before you throw away or recycle items or containers, consider them for the art supply box!
 

 

Art Exploration
Help your child discover their passions and talents.  Some love to paint, some like to sketch and others may want to mold their creation.  Children who enjoy an activity are more likely to keep doing it.

 
 

Art Show and Tell
Celebrate your children’s creativity by displaying and discussing what they create.  Cover the refrigerator or frame and hang up pieces that your child is most proud of.  Encourage children to talk about the story behind their painting or drawing and artistic choices they made.

 
 

If your child needs some encouragement and suggestions when it comes to creativity, work together to in come up with ideas regarding what gets them excited.  Help your child find the fun in art and his/her imagination!



Make cute, inexpensive treats as special Valentines for classmates, friends or someone special!  

 

 

Materials:

Cupcake liners- different sizes

Lollipops

Green construction paper

Pencil

Scissors

Tape or Glue

 

Instructions:

Layer your cupcake liners on top of one another by size. Place the bigger cups on the bottom and the smallest on top.

Use a pencil to poke holes in the center of each cupcake liner. Then slide the lollipop through the holes.

Make double-sided leaves by folding your green construction paper in half, cutting along the folded line, and folding each piece in half again, lengthwise. Draw a leaf shape, but be sure the fold is at the stem side, and don’t cut through the fold.

Write a message on the leaf before securing it to the lollipop stick. Then tape or glue close the fold around the stick.

 

Source/Photo: Crafts for Kids/M.Cieloha



 

Today the Caldecott Medal was awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American children’s book of 2013. The Caldecott Medal for best illustrated book went to Brian Floca, writer and illustrator of Locomotive, about a family’s train trip from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869.
 

Given by the American Library Association, Caldecott is one of the most distinguished awards in children’s literature.
 

Last year’s Caldecott went to one of our favorites, Jon Klassen, for This is Not my Hat, a humorous tale about a tiny fish that knows it’s wrong to steal a hat. Klassen illustrated a new book, The Dark, by Lemony Snicket about a boy who overcomes being afraid of the dark.
 

Check out these and all the Caledcott Medal winners from years past here: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/caldecottmedal



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