AIR Informs Episode #2: Opportunities for Learning and Development in Out-of-School Time

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Image of Deb MoroneyWhile schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, out-of-school time programs and employees continue to support students and provide child care—especially for parents who can’t work from home—while still complying with local policies and practicing social distancing.

In this podcast, AIR managing director and youth development expert Deborah Moroney, based in Chicago, shares what parents should know about out-of-school time programs and resources to support students while they’re not in school.

  • Out-of-school time providers are still playing an important role for students. Community-based programs and spiritual institutions are providing childcare and learning programs for children and young people whose parents can’t work from home.
  • Even with shelter-in-place orders, out-of-school programs are responding in creative ways. For example, the Chicago Park District is open during the week to provide care for children and young people. Teen programs at After School Matters, also in Chicago, have temporarily closed their in-person programs, but their staff continue to engage their young adult participants online.
  • Out-of-school time programs are having fun, even in these stressful times. For example, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is temporarily closed and the penguins have taken over!
  • If parents are overwhelmed when looking for educational resources, they should look locally. Visit websites for your local library and cultural institution for curated lists. You can also visit large library websites for curated resources for young people by age, such as the New York City and Los Angeles public library systems. And don’t forget cultural institutions, like aquariums and natural history and art museums.
What Is Out-of-School Time?

Out-of-school time can mean the time children spend with family members or other caregivers when they’re not in school, but it also refers to a field of practice. Nonprofit organizations mainly run the programs for children. These may include afterschool programs, summer programs, clubs, sports, and really any structured activity for young people when they’re out of school. About 12 million people across the country are involved in running and supporting such activities.

Check out these additional educational resources for parents and students: