Social and Emotional Learning

One of the advantages of an after school program with a lot of choices, free play and social opportunities is the opportunity to develop a child’s social and emotional competencies.

A great summary of what exactly are social and emotional skills and their importance can be found here

Why being outdoors is important for kids.

Part of every day at Lextended day is going outdoors, except in more extreme weather conditions.  We find the children are happier when we do and most have a real drive to be outside.  This is also a great opportunity for unstructured, imaginative play, gross motor skills, and opportunity for social and emotional development.    

Most research I see is in support of increased outdoor time.   This article shares a number of theories. 

More on potential effects on asthma an ADHD here

The Nurtured Heart Approach

We were fortunate to have Sam Healy give an all staff training on using the Nurtured Heart approach.  He is a long time advocate for children and has worked with many leaders in the after school arena like the Boys and Girls Clubs and City Year.

The three main stands of the approach are: 

1. Refuse to give big reactions to broken rules or problems.

2. Relentlessly "energize" positive behaviors and qualities.

3. Be clear and firm about rules and consequences. 

See more from Sam here and a great TED talk here.


A Conversation with the author of Taking Back Childhood

Are children being exposed to screens too early? - a conversation with Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and mother of artist Matt Damon. 

I like what she says about what children should be doing instead....

"The fact that they are spending more time looking at screens instead of engaged in robust outdoor play, interacting with other kids, spontaneous negotiating and figuring out problems in the real world with other kids, means they are not learning some of the vital lessons that came naturally to children in the past. Screen time is rapidly changing what children learn and don't learn."

Full blog post from Education Week here