Effective school age care environments require a diverse range of materials that must meet the needs of all enrolled students. Meeting these specific needs requires crafting activity areas geared for younger children, while simultaneously challenging older students in the group. For this process to flow smoothly, group leaders and program directors must think intentionally about how activity areas are set up, and what materials they present to students.
This toolkit is designed to help school age educators maximize the potential of their activity areas and materials while following best practice and developmentally appropriate care. Material in this guide will be sectioned off in accordance to the School Age Care Environmental Rating Scales Updated (SACERS-U) tool, that is currently used to assess quality in school age program care. This toolkit should be used alongside materials provided by the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project (NCRLAP), the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) licensing rule book Chapter 9, and the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) School Age Tip Sheets. Materials from NCRLAP can be accessed by website at ncrlap.org. Information from the DCDEE can be accessed by website at ncchildcare.org. Information from NCASE can be accessed by website at childcareta.acf.hhs.gov. It is important to remember that these tools and resources were specifically developed to enhance the school age program experience and should be approached with a mindset of ongoing quality on a daily basis.
Material in the Quick Tips sections will indicate licensing regulations or SACERS-U recommendations.