Putting It All Together: Guiding Principles for Quality After-School Programs Serving Preteens

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Many preteens have limited access to high-quality after-school programs. This study, funded by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, found that while organizational capacity, the needs of the youth served and available resources all help determine the ability of a program to adequately serve young adolescents, the six “guiding principles” identified in the report are “essential for program quality” and positive results. Those principles are:

• A focused and intentional strategy that sets clear goals and targets specific skills.

• Sufficient time in the program and exposure to a variety of activities.

• Supportive, positive adult/youth relationships.

• Family engagement.

• Cultural competence.

• Continuous program improvement through staff training, coaching and monitoring, and data collection and analysis.

A companion Resource Guide includes links to research and program-strengthening tools. Free, 25 pages. (215) 557-4400,


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