top of page


What we can learn from Out of School programs

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

I'm a huge fan of out of school programs. What happens here can be overlooked or seen as inconsequential when compared to learning which takes place during the school day. What we miss in this hierarchical approach is what school systems and staff can learn from designing and delivering learning differently.

After working on a province-wide after school initiative for children and youth with barriers to participation, I knew there was something phenomenal going on with respect to:

  • how to connect with kids and youth,

  • how to engage learners in a meaningful way, and

  • how to extend the reach to include marginalized learners.

I was so inspired by the school district, school and community organization staff that I focused my master's project around validating what happens in these programs. Below, you'll find key takeaways from my research.

Focus on rapport

  • Increased attention paid to building rapport

  • Focus on meeting children where they’re at

  • Provide greater emotional and developmental support

  • Staff’s role is to support, not manage behavior

Consultative approach

  • Consultation around participant interests increases engagement

  • Relevant materials & resources are provided based on cultural background and social contexts

Flexible & responsive learning

  • Learning is approached in a flexible, responsive, learner-centered way

  • Learning is seen as a bi-directional process, that is the teacher is continuously learning too!


  • Focus on fun!

  • Experiential learning

  • Smaller group sessions

* Taken from The REIL Model - An Engagement and Learning Tool for Marginalized Learners in Non-Formal and Formal Learning Settings (

For more information or to book a session about the benefits of Out of School Programs, visit


bottom of page