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Out-of-School Time

Out-of-school time (OST) is “an inclusive term referring to programming that takes place during the out-of-school time hours, which includes before school, after school, summers, holidays and weekends. It is structured, providing a diverse range of programming to enrich learning experiences and support positive emotional, social and cognitive development in youth.” (Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence) In Arizona, nearly 23% of school-agers participate in an after-school program. For many families, OST programs are not an option, but a need.

OST programs in Arizona provide three top types of activities: physical activity, homework assistance, and opportunities for reading and writing. OST programs are a powerful tool to help children develop the skills needed for the 21st century workplace, as well. Arts, physical education, and social and emotional skills are few of the areas affected due to the pressure teachers feel to prioritize writing and math skills to comply with standardized tests. After school programs support schools by filling this gap.

Quality OST programs have diverse approaches, styles, and curriculums to meet the needs of school agers. Thanks to the implementation of the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs, Arizona is among the “Top 10 States for Afterschool” (America After 3 PM Afterschool Alliance). The standards promote safe and healthy environments; positive relationships; intentional programming and activities; equity and inclusion; family, school and community engagement; program management; and program evaluation and data. However, programs’ participation is voluntary. To find a participating program click here.

Choosing the right OST program for your child is very important, and finding the right one will impact your family’s wellbeing. At UofA Life & Work Connections, we can help. Access https://lifework.arizona.edu  or contact Lourdes A. Rodríguez at lrodriguez1@email.arizona.edu, or by calling (520)-621-1530 for assistance.