The 16 Principles of Effectiveness

Listed below are Laurie Ollhoff's 16 principles of effectiveness for SAC programs. How many of them are seen in your program?

1. SAC time is valued as the child's time; their needs and ideas drive the program.
2. SAC programs grow and evolve with kids-children have an ever-changing role and purpose in the program.
3. Intentionality is the key to adult-child programming.
4. SAC programming porvides balance in a child's day and life.
5. The role of adults is to facilitate rather than direct.
6. In SAC - movement is life, learning and living.
7. SAC sites are miniature societies.
8. SAC has access to the appropriate facilities and equipment allowing for flexibility and enrichment in programming.
9. Parents are cherished partners.
10. SAC is the link to education, families and communities.
11. SAC is a social setting - social skills are taught and practiced.
12. Individual choice and community building are equally important.
13. SAC management and budget are devoted to supporting staff and program standards.
14. Issues of diversity and sensitivity are championed by staff and children.
15. Staff's individual gifts and talents are a celebrated part of the program.
16. The space utilized is kid friendly.

From: Best Practicies: Guidelines for School-Age Programs by Michael Ashcraft

School-Age Children Need Choices

A great School-Age Care (SAC) program needs to give children the opportunity to LAP, RAP, SNACK and NAP. Opportunity means children have some choices to make for themselves in the after-school setting. SAC should not be a continuation of the traditional school day. Giving children choices about when to do the lapping, rapping, snacking and napping allows them to practice and improve their decision-making skills.

LAP- Let the children release their energy by running and being active upon arrival. They have had little time during the day to “let off steam” and many children have an abundance of energy when they arrive to after-school. SAC programs are today’s version of yesterday’s neighborhoods because they provide a safe venue for children’s spontaneity. Adding a few minutes of free play can make all the difference in the world.

RAP- Children should be able to socialize with their friends. The traditional school day has not given them much opportunity to talk and interact with people they choose. SAC programs are the perfect place to develop important social skills and lasting relationships.

SNACK- Some children are hungry when they arrive while others had a late lunch and do not want to eat immediately. Having a snack area where children can serve themselves when they are hungry builds independence and gives them the opportunity to have conversations with different children.

NAP- Other children just want to relax in a quiet area to read or rest after a full day of school. Like adults, children need to unwind, clear their thoughts, have a place to do quiet work and process their day.

-Suzanne and Chesca


I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

-Chinese Proverb

Charlie struggles to get all of his school stuff into his backpack.
"Weren't you here when we had a session about how to do that?" the teacher asks.
"I was here but I forgot." says the ten year old.
The teacher empties the backpack. "Watch. Put your books in like this," he says demonstrating
how to put the books in so their titles are visible."
"Now, try again," he tells Charlie.
Charlie slides in two spiral-backed notebooks, his grammar text and workbook and a math book and stuffs in a snack. "It all fits," he grins.
At the after-school club, Charlie drops the backpack to the floor while he opens his locker.
Nothing spills.
"See that," he says to his friend Kevin, who's scrambling after papers that slid out of his canvas back. "Packed it myself."

*Patience with children teaches not only the lesson at hand, but also gives children the pride of accomplishment that is necessary for building faith in themselves.

(Source: For the Love of Children: Daily affirmations For People Who Care for Children
by Jean Steiner and Mary Steiner Whelan)