Tree of Life (TOL) adapts multiple programming to meet the needs of the community. Their after school program meets Monday through Friday when school gets out, and houses 30 plus children a day. They pride on focusing on social, emotional, and mental health needs of the children who participate in programming. One of the best ways we can meet the social-emotional needs of children is to help them develop the skills they need to be resilient. Children who know how to overcome obstacles and adjust to changes in their lives often get along with others and develop other important social-emotional skills. Resilience is important for children because it gives them emotional stability in unknown situations and helps them develop skills necessary to be successful in life. TOL focuses on these things by creating enrichment activities as well as life skills. These five things are kept in mind and will be focusing on in their programming for after school:
- Homework completion
- New experiences and opportunities
- Health and wellness
- School behavior
- Noncognitive, developmental
- Academic achievement
Carry out supportive interaction strategies
Supportive interactions are the foundation for building strong, healthy relationships with children. Intentionality is a key part to having an effective interaction strategy, however. The ways in which we interact with children should be well thought out and planned in advance. Intentional planning can help prevent challenging behaviors and promote children’s social-emotional development.
Foster supportive relationships between school and home
The program and families should be partners in helping children succeed. Home-school connections and family engagement both play a major role in helping children develop the skills they need to be positive members of the community. In addition to caring for children, we should be thinking of the role of helping families get off to the right start with their child’s education and development.
Provide activities and experiences that give children opportunities to learn social-emotional skills
Playing while learning should be an emphasis, because meaningful play is one of the best ways for children to learn and develop social-emotional skills. Resilience can also be taught through meaningful play.
Have a predictable, yet flexible daily routine with carefully planned transitions
The program can avoid difficult transitions for children by planning and organizing the daily routine to help them feel secure. We can help them to learn how to adapt to situations by having a predictable, yet flexible routine.
Design spaces to create learning environments that contribute to children’s overall development and well-being
Young children are very sensitive to their environment, so it’s important for us to create a learning environment that is engaging and comforting to children. Being sure to take into account the likes, dislikes, and cultures of all the children in the community and program. If children feel comfortable in their environment, they’re more likely to learn and develop the skills they need to succeed in life.
- Homework help
- Recreation activities (games, free play)
- Enrichment (arts, technology, sports)
- Snacks and Dinner
After school schedule | Monday through Friday | 3 PM – 6 PM
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Arrival/Snack
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Homework Help
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Activity Together
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Free Play
5:30 PM – 6 PM Dinner