High-Quality Complementary Learning Programs and Activities

Key Elements of Complementary Learning Activities and Programs

For a program to be considered for inclusion in the database of high-quality complementary learning programs, it must include the following elements:

  • Engagement: Participation in the activity or program should help participants develop their interest and motivation over time in creative ways. Engagement can be displayed through a variety of methods (e.g., behavioral, emotional, cognitive, vocational).

  • Capacity: Participation in the activity or program should help participants learn necessary 21st century skills in academic content, technology, or other skill sets in increasingly rigorous ways. Some activities may build from a deficit model, but capacity needs to rise over time to allow participants to have access to higher level skills.

  • Continuity: Activities and programs must display enough support over time to allow the participants to build content mastery. Participants also need access to guidance and support to learn about the real-world applications of the skills they are learning.

  • Other Supportive Factors:

Questions to Consider

How does this program foster the engagement of the participants?

  • Are participants involved in the community through program activities?
  • Does the program encourage positive behavior?
  • Does the program promote the self-concept and self-awareness of participants?
  • Are participants' needs met?
  • Are participants given decision-making opportunities?
  • Are participants made to feel they are making a difference?
  • Do the participants have opportunities to plan and lead activities?
  • Does the program content address future job preparedness?

How does this program help create capacity building?

  • Does the program foster the development of professional skills?
  • Does the program develop the advancement of technology skills and use?
  • Is the program designed to integrate higher-order thinking?
  • Does the program integrate academic content?

How does this program achieve continuity for participants?

  • Has the program been in existence more than one year?
  • Are activities designed to be project based?
  • Does the program build on participants' strengths and skills?

Does this program integrate other supportive factors?

  • Does this program build capital (e.g., human, social, personal, cultural, health) that is otherwise lacking in a lower income environment?
  • Does this program provide multiple forms of support?
  • Are children and youth provided with a substantial quantity of resources related to health, culture, development of abilities, and social networks?
  • Does this program use youth development principles?
  • Does this program have community support?
  • Does this program involve families?
  • Does this program have family support?

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