YouthQuest After School Educational Program
The YouthQuest after school program takes a holistic approach to learning; it’s fun, engaging and experiential, and it’s connected to the school day. This approach not only improves students’ overall performance at school, but contributes to work-ready skills such as team work, problem-solving, critical thinking and healthy decision making. YouthQuest also plays an important role in connecting schools with our communities. We’re moving beyond the traditional classroom activities and we’re exposing youth to neighborhood organizations, local theater and museums, health and fitness programs, and interesting leaders in the community.
Academic Program: Reading, Math and Science
Academic-based activities are supported by a curriculum called KidzLit™, KidzMath™ and KidzScience™ designed especially for after school.
KidzLit ™ is a five-part process that helps students develop a love of reading while building comprehension skills and vocabulary. In addition to helping students get excited about reading, KidzLit™ strives to help students develop their capacity to think critically, express their ideas about important issues, and increase their understanding of self, peers, and others.
KidzMath ™ builds students’ confidence and skills in math and develops their ability to work in a team. Lessons consist of cooperative games that are intended to be different from the traditional math curriculum but target and build upon traditional math skills. Through these games, students also have an opportunity to have fun, feel successful, and build confidence as they work together toward a common goal.
KidzScience™ activities allow children to discover important science concepts that will support them in school and in life. There are 3 series – Physical Science, Life Science and the Green Science Series. The Physical Science Series covers air resistance, magnetism, properties of matter and surface tension. The Life Science Series focuses on the earth’s surface changes over time, how plants’ and animals’ colors can help them survive, a habitat is a place where organisms get everything they need to stay alive, and connections in nature occur between predators and prey. Content for the Green Science series is being developed and will be active in 2011.
A nutritious dinner and snack are provided as part of the after school program. Local school districts along with area grocers and restaurants are supporting YouthQuest’s food service and student learning experiences.
Enrichment, Physical Fitness, Health
YouthQuest partners with a variety of community organizations to provide cultural and educational enrichment activities and skill building. Areas of focus include academics, sports, performing arts, technology, arts and crafts, civic involvement, and social, nutritional and physical engagement.
Youth Development and Leadership
Youth development and leadership skill building is an important component of the program. Three key areas are addressed:
- Introduction to computers and computer-related technology
- Instruction on appropriate uses of technology
- Personal development
- Personal hygiene
- Positive relationship building
- Conflict resolution
Value of a team - both as a member and as a leader
YouthQuest focuses on values that prepare students for positive social engagement. Parent resources available here.
In addition to academic and social activities, YouthQuest students learn the importance of volunteering. Working jointly with their peers and their learning guide, they identify projects or a cause to which they can contribute their time, skill or talents. Children quickly learn how great it feels to help others and often inspire their friends to volunteer.
Youth Advisory Council
Each school has a Youth Advisory Council comprised of YouthQuest students and children who are not YouthQuest participants, but attend the same schools. The council members provide input on enrichment activities and more, or if they are not currently a YouthQuest participant, they might express a desire to join YouthQuest.