Through staff interviews, observation of programs, and analysis of quantitative data, researchers at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago conducted an evaluation of Wallace's Making the Most of Out-of-School Time initiative.
This report shares early lessons from a Wallace-funded initiative to improve the quantity and quality of out-of-school-time programs for families in low-income communities. The effort, called Making the Most of Out-of-School Time (MOST), worked with schools in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle.
Researchers found that MOST had contributed in a variety of ways to the school-age care system in each participating city, including:
Researchers found that out-of-school-time systems should include three elements:
Improving the quality of school-age care programs is a long-term process. It requires enough resources and technical assistance from outside the program, adequate and stable staff support, and parental involvement. Also, it takes time to form the right team and for a technical assistance provider to develop a trusting relationship with a program and its staff.
Both public and private sector funding are needed. Public sector support is especially critical for low-income families who may otherwise be unable to afford out-of-school-time programs. Private funding can encourage public agencies to put more dollars into school-age care.
Diverse partnerships are of vital importance. They bring together schools, community-based organizations, and others to help communities see new possibilities. They also encourage innovative thinking.
Although interest in school-age care seems new, it is far from a new phenomenon . . . A century ago settlements were already organizing clubs and classes for the children of immigrants . . .
What was the role of private schools, family day care providers, libraries, and schools in Boston?
What would be the impact of changing MOST’s focus in larger urban areas to neighborhoods vs. citywide efforts?