Also, the size and age range of children can vary greatly among school-
age programs. Some programs separate children by ages. Most, however, have
children spanning several grades within the same space. While these multi-
age groupings provide great opportunities for peer interaction and mentoring,
they also present some challenges. How can you create an environment that
will meet the physical, social-emotional, and cognitive needs of all children
in your program? The diversity in types of programs helps meet the needs of
children and of changing family dynamics in today’s society; however, not all
options are available in all areas.
Types of Facilities
Just as afterschool programs come in many shapes and sizes, so too do the
facilities in which they are housed. School-age programs can be located in a
classroom, cafeteria, gym, or library in a school building or in a community or
faith-based organization. Some school-age programs are part of a child care
facility and may be held in a room within the larger facility. Others may have
their own facility that has been designed solely for the afterschool program.
Regardless of their location, school-age facilities fall into two basic categories:
shared space and dedicated space.
The majority of programs share part
or all of their space. Shared space
is defined as space that is used by
others either during the school day,
when you are not using it, or simulta-
neously, during your program time.
Setting up and taking down the envi-
ronment daily is a key indicator that
your space is shared space.
These shared spaces come with
opportunities and challenges. The
The initial impression
of a building housing
a school-age program
should send a message
that this is a good place
2 • Chapter 1
inability to use or move desks or
other items in the room can limit
group activities and active play. A library offers an area for quiet activities but
leaves little room for active play. Sporting events, science fairs, school fund-
raisers, or other events can temporarily force you out of your space, causing
the frustration and disruption of dislocation.