Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Broadening Horizons

Are you familiar with the LIAS (Learning in Afterschool and Summer) principles?  There are five of them and in brief they say that learning in afterschool and summer should be active, collaborative, and meaningful, support skill mastery and broaden horizons.  I couldn’t agree more—learning that meets this litmus test will be embraced by children and youth.

There are a lot of different ways to “broaden horizons” for youth in your afterschool program.  
Here are the Top 5.

Go on a field trip.  Visit an exciting and interesting business, museum, landmark, or other amazing place within the community.  Remember you can go by foot or by bus.
Bring the field trip to your program.  There are a number of assemblies that you can bring into your program.  One of my favorites is the observatory that can be set up inside a multi-purpose room and students enter and then study the stars.
Bring in a guest speaker.  Too often we think a guest speaker has to be famous.  Consider highlighting a local business, the director of the Salvation Army, the head of the Homeless Task Force, or the high school or college coach.
Take a virtual tour.  You can go most anywhere virtually these days.  Visit Washington D.C., check out the National Parks, or visit the ancient pyramids of Egypt.  With Google Maps and You Tube you should be set.
Have a club that requires youth to try something new.  Too often we limit our thinking on clubs.  How about asking the neighborhood cake decorating shop to come in and give cupcake lessons or inviting the local golf pro to come in and work with youth on putting.Think outside the box!  Ask youth what they are curious about.  Check in with your staff about their interests and hobbies.  Plan activities that will intentionally broaden the horizons of your youth.

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