Program Quality: Instructional & Program Design

Children and adult pretend to be bears

The instructional and program design component is the core of any OST program, and critical to higher quality. While there is no one curriculum used by out-of-school time programs, program design and curricula are increasingly used, and a focus on content is becoming an area of interest. 

Program design, a slightly different concept, focuses on ways that the program is organized, segmented, and scheduled. It also includes the aspect of student choice.


The Program Quality category of Instructional & Program Design is divided into the following sections. Each section provides free materials and resources to download on a range of topics and approaches to instructional and program design in OST programs.

  • Articles & Research contains key and current research on the topic of program development and design.
  • Resources provides program materials that have been generated by the field, such as lesson plans, curricula, and planning templates.
  • Program Examples includes case studies and video clips of actual OST programs that demonstrate ways that programs create programs and curricula.
  • Professional Development provides professional learning opportunities through webinars and other offerings.
  • OST Field Notes provides  photo essays, blogs, and other types of writing by practitioners about their experiences in creating offerings for children and youth.