For Programs

Information about best practices, professional development, activities and curricula, and more!

Best Practices

Guiding Principles

The research is clear that children and youth participating in out-of-school time programs experience positive outcomes in all areas of development, and decreases in high risk behaviors. However, programs must be high quality in order for children and youth to benefit from them. The purpose of the Guiding Principles for Quality OST Programming  is to outline the path and specific steps that lead to quality programs, based on research and best practices in the education and youth development field. The Guiding Principles are recommended for: 

  • Funders and Policy Leaders – to link funding and accountability to research-based, measurable outcomes.
  • Parents and Families – to understand essential elements of high quality programs and to be able to advocate on behalf of their children and youth.
  • Schools – to understand essential elements of high quality programs and provide a common language for collaboration.

Professional Development

STEM Professional Development for Out-of-School Time Providers: Through Staff development guides, self-directed web lessons, webinars and more, Click 2 Science offers a framework for improving quality in OST STEM activities. Click2Science resources are designed to be combined and used together to create a blended learning experience that makes a meaningful impact on staff. Learn more about our Professional Development Model to improve your own professional development facilitation.  Read more  (Note: Registration is free, but required to access the site.)

Beyond the Bell® is a suite of professional development services, products, and practical tools designed to help afterschool program leaders and staff members create and sustain high-quality, effective afterschool and expanded learning programs. Read More   Beyond the Bell Toolkit

The Intel® Teach Program provides professional development, helping teachers/program facilitators to integrate technology into their lessons and promoting students’ problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. While this free resource is geared toward classroom teachers the concepts are easily transferrable to the afterschool setting. Read More

Additional resources for designing Project-Based Learning projects: Read More

This Guide is intended to share the insights of SEDL’s National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning (the National Partnership) as well as information about both the academic and the organizational and management practices that successful afterschool programs use. The tool is organized into the following four focus areas:

  • program organization
  • academic programming practices
  • supportive relationships in afterschool
  • achieving program outcomes

Within each focus area, we describe the key practices of successful programs. In addition, we provide a Quality-O-Meter tool to help you reflect on your practices and a Planning for Action tool to help you document plans for implementing practices to increase your program’s quality. SEDL National Center For Quality Afterschool. Read More

The National Collaboration for Youth has recently released a series of after school toolkits, titled, “Partnerships for After-School Success.” The toolkits provide research supporting the need for school-CBO partnerships; successful strategies for creating and sustaining partnerships; and checklists and tools. The toolkits, which range from 1 to 3 pages, are web-based only. “Published by SparkAction (, an online journalism and advocacy center to improve the lives of children and youth.” Read More

More Resources

Kids Activities: Free activities for child care and afterschool professionals. Click here to explore many great ideas for arts activities with kids, or use the direct links below to go to specific topics.

The SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool – Arts: The Afterschool Training Toolkit is a wonderful website to explore when you have time, but here are a few direct links to get you started in a variety of arts activities.

  • Building skills in the arts – Learn More
  • Expressing yourself through the arts – Learn More
  • Making connections to history and culture – Learn More
  • Thinking and talking about works of art – Learn More
  • Integrating the arts with other subjects – Learn More

Involving families and communities – Learn More

Afterschool Exchange: Browse through these fun, discipline-specific activities that were developed by Thirteen/WNET New York especially for afterschool educators.

Braingle: Over 20,000 searchable brain teasers, riddles, logic problems, quizzes and mind puzzles.  Read More

Curious George PBS Kids: Just like George, children are curious about the world and how things work. Do these simple activities and have fun making discoveries together. Read More

Exploratorium: The museum of science, art and human perception. List of activities on a variety of topics. Read More 1576 searchable science and math activities. Read More

INTEL Resources

  • STEM Unit Plans: Explore technology rich units that use project-based approaches to support the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Curriculum. Intel believes that young people are the key to solving global challenges. A solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving are crucial for their success. Read More
  • THINKING TOOLS: Intel® Education thinking tools are based on research that demonstrates the value of visual representation in constructing and retaining new information. Teachers create online workspaces for students to engage in robust discussions, analyze complex information, pursue investigations, and solve problems. Read More

 Kids Activities:Free activities for child care and afterschool professionals. This website if filled with many great ideas when you have the time to explore but until then here are a few direct links. Read More 

Math Circles Collaborative of New Mexico: To quote from the National Association of Math Circles site: Math Circles bring K-12 students or K-12 mathematics teachers together with mathematically sophisticated leaders in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. The Circles combine significant content with a setting that encourages a sense of discovery and excitement about mathematics through problem solving and interactive exploration. Ideal problems are low-threshold, high-ceiling; they offer a variety of entry points and can be approached with minimal mathematical background, but lead to deep mathematical concepts and can be connected to advanced mathematics. Math Circle Activities

Mind Research Institute
Pre-K and Kindergarten Math Activities for Families: Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, these early childhood years, are a crucial time in development of cognitive functions. This includes foundational math knowledge and attitudes toward math, but also reading and general academic success. Article and activities

NASA Science & Learning Activities for Afterschool: Eight Astrobiology activities for participants ages 5 to 12.  Download PDF

Science Buddies: The award-winning, non-profit Science Buddies empowers K-12 students, parents, and teachers to quickly and easily find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science and music to microbiology. Whether your goal is to find a fun science activity for your kids or win the international science fair, puts comprehensive, scientist-authored tools, tips, and techniques at your fingertips. Website

Meet the Greens: A site for kids about sustainability and green living. The site is easily navigable and includes a carbon calculator, animated episodic adventures, games, a blog, kids’ mail, and regular updates. Kids will have fun AND come away with a hopeful and positive sense that their efforts to go green really can make a difference.  Visit site 

The SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool: The Afterschool Training Toolkit is a wonderful website to explore when you have time, but here are a few direct links to get you started in a variety of science activities.

  • Investigating science through inquiry – Read More
  • Exploring science through projects and problems – Read More
  • Engaging families and communities – Read More

Kids Activities: Free activities for child care and afterschool professionals. This website is filled with many great ideas when you have the time to explore. Here are a couple of direct links to literacy topics.

The SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool – Arts: The Afterschool Training Toolkit is a wonderful website to explore when you have time, but here are a few direct links to get you started in a variety of literacty related activities.

Body Works: Body Works is a program designed to help parents and caregivers of young adolescent girls (“tweens”) improve family eating and activity habits.  The program focuses on parents as role models and provides them with hands-on tools to make small, specific behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthy weight.  It uses a train-the-trainer model to distribute the Body Works Toolkit.  Nutrition, Physical Activity; Girls age 9 to 13 years; No cost.  Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Health and Science, Office on Women’s Health. Read More

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Youth Physical Activity Guidelines and Toolkit. Read More

Cooking with Kids, Inc.: “Cooking with Kids” engages elementary school children in hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultures. Students are encouraged to explore many varieties of foods using all of their senses, to have fun, and to exercise choice.  “Cooking with Kids” invites parent and volunteer participation to teach nutrition standards and food safety while preparing food. The children get to sample tomatoes, wheat, corn, nuts and other foods. Nutrition – Linked to NM Standards and Benchmarks. Read More

Get Active – Be Healthy Afterschool Tool Kit: The Afterschool Alliance has teamed up with Quaker® Oats to create the “Get Active: Be Healthy Afterschool Toolkit“. The guide provides creative, easy-to-implement ideas for incorporating health and wellness into your afterschool program, including lesson plans, activities and games.

Indian Health Services – Physical Activity Kit (PAK): The PAK is based on best and promising practices to increase physical activity. The PAK toolkit can be used in schools, communities, worksites, Head Start programs, elderly centers, and youth programs. The Goal of the PAK is to increase the time American Indians and Alaskan Natives spend in medium to high physical activity for all ages across the lifespan. While, the activities have been field tested to be culturally appropriate for Native communities, others might find PAK useful in their community.  Read More

USDA: Food and Nutrition Center: Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 2015-2020.  Read more

NMOST understands health and wellbeing as broad categories that encompass physical and mental health. In addition to information and activities about nutrition and physical activity, this page also contains resources about preparing for an emergency, and anti-bullying resources.

Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience PDF: A framework for addressing and preventing community trauma: Many communities are working to prevent violence and promote community safety and, through comprehensive, multi-sector actions, are making progress.

Supporting Students with Chronic Trauma PDF: De-escalation strategies can help prevent students’ emotional outbursts, and aid them and their peers in finding calm after one: 

The Future of Healing PDF: Shifting from Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement

Strengthening Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs in Afterschool: Childhood obesity is a growing national concern – with afterschool and summer learning programs leading the way in reversing this trend! This webinar will introduce the afterschool and summer learning field to the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards in Out of School Time, the first-ever comprehensive national nutrition and physical activity standards for K-12 out-of-school programs, and Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative that offers resources to provide healthy foods and increase physical activity. Guest speakers will also discuss how to take advantage of funding through USDA child nutrition programs. Read More

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Out-of-School Time: Out-of-school time settings are the places where kids spend their time before and after school, during school breaks, and over the summer. These are prime environments where youth can be encouraged to eat healthier and move more. Out-of-school time providers across the country are already supporting the healthy development of young people. To build on these efforts, we use our knowledge and experience to give staff the most comprehensive support to increase healthy eating and physical activity. Read More The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

New Mexico Health Statistics
The New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS) is a tool to assess the health risk behaviors and resiliency (protective) factors of New Mexico high school and middle school students. The YRRS is part of the national CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), but the survey results have widespread benefits for New Mexico at the state, county, and school district levels. Topic areas include risk behaviors related to alcohol and drug use, unintentional injury, violence, suicidal ideation and attempts, tobacco use, sexual activity, physical activity, and nutrition; resiliency (protective) factors such as relationships in the family, school, community, and with peers; and health status issues such as body weight and asthma.

YRRS Reports by county

State Demographics

  • NM Student Success and Wellness Bureau  Read Mor

NM Kids Count Data Center. Annie E. Casey Foundation (2016): In this website you can explore a variety of indicators that can be broken down by county and also compared to other states. You can also generate your own individualized reports using indicators that you select across categories. © 2016 The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Read More

SEL+OST=Perfect Together: A Conference Report: From the Wallace Foundation: Afterschool, summer and other out-of-school-time programs can be ideal settings for children to learn and build social and emotional well-being—when skilled and trusted adults are there to guide them, according to this conference report. Social and emotional skills—the capacity to work productively with a group, manage feelings well, resolve conflicts satisfactorily and an array of other capabilities—are increasingly recognized as a key to success in modern life. Accordingly, efforts to integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) into the classroom and in afterschool, summer or other out-of-school-time (OST) programs have gotten increasing attention in recent years. Learn More

Wellbeing at School and at Home in New Mexico (WASH NM): The faculty and students of the Department of Individual, Family and Community Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of New Mexico would like to offer to all New Mexicans thoughts, ideas, and resources from ourselves and our areas of study and work — counseling, educational psychology, family & child studies, and nutrition — to enlighten, soften, and aid the COVID-19-related transitions. We intend to make this offering monthly, each with a theme relevant to our times. Read More

Tips, Articles, and Advice on Bullying. Kids Activities (2014): Bullying is the conscious desire to hurt, exclude, or put someone else down to make you feel better. Bullying can be in looks, actions or words. Bullying is not a joke. It is unacceptable. Each person/student has the right to feel safe, happy, and wanted. Bullying could include being ignored constantly; being excluded from the group; having rumors spread about you; being made fun of. Learn more at: Read More

National Bullying Prevention Center. Pacer (2016): 2016 is the National Bullying Prevention Center’s 10th anniversary of working with schools and communities to prevent bullying. See what students, and communities can do to prevent bullying. Read More

SNAP ED Obesity Prevention Toolkit. USDA (2016): SNAP-Ed Strategies and Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States Evidence-based Policy and Environmental Change in Child Care, School, Community, and Family Settings. Read More

Youth Physical Activity Guidelines and Toolkit. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008): Despite the many health benefits associated with regular physical activity, many children and adolescents do not participate in physical activity for 60 minutes or more each day. To promote the guidelines and support youth physical activity, CDC and several partner organizations developed the Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit, which highlights strategies that schools, families, and communities can use to support youth physical activity. Multiple downloads and order form for Free physical copies at: Read More

Child Nutrition. Afterschool Alliance: Afterschool programs can – and do – play an important role in providing children access to nutritious meals. Read More


Explora/NMPTA Parent Engagement Webinar (2018): The following are materials used in a webinar on Parent Engagement co-developed by the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum and the New Mexico PTA. Click to view or download the PDFs.


Physical Activity Kit (PAK). Indian Health Services (2008)
The PAK is based on best and promising practices to increase physical activity. This PAK module contains a variety of physical activities that can be done by a family. The entire PAK toolkit (link below) can be used in schools, communities, worksites, Head Start programs, elderly centers, and youth programs. The goal of the PAK is to increase the time American Indians and Alaskan Natives spend in medium to high physical activity for all ages across the lifespan. While the activities have been field tested to be culturally appropriate for Native communities, others might also find PAK useful in their community. Read More

PBS Kids activities: The PBS Kids site has many on-line and downloadable activities for use in OST programs. Here are some examples:

  • Design Squad. PBS Kids (2016) Design Squad is a PBS KIDS television series where real kids get to compete in all sorts of crazy engineering challenges.  Watch videos of students competing to solve problems like how to build the fastest sail boat, then check out the “Make Cool Projects” to work on engineering projects yourself. Read More (2014): Over 20,000 searchable brain teasers, riddles, logic problems, quizzes and mind puzzles. Read More

Family Literacy Night. SEDL: Family Literacy Events are special scheduled times when parents and caregivers are invited to visit and participate in activities at their child’s afterschool program. Events may include workshops on homework or parenting issues, student presentations, musical activities or plays, or exhibits of student work. Family literacy events may be led by afterschool staff, local experts, or community organizations. Read More

Students of Color

SACNAS (Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) (2015)
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. As a national nonprofit, SACNAS brings together individuals and organizations interested in quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research, teaching, leadership, and policy. The organization provides a variety of resources, including scholarships, internships, fellowships, leadership development, evaluation and research, and mentoring. Read More

Indian Health Services – Health Promotion/Disease Prevention: American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) increasingly face health challenges from lifestyle choices such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and substance abuse, and from conditions such as obesity and injury. The IHS Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) program aims to improve health by enhancing preventive efforts at local, regional, and national levels. By developing and implementing effective health promotion and chronic disease prevention programs, HPDP can increase the health of individuals, families, and communities across Indian country. Read More

The Underrepresented Curriculum Project


Tips for starting or expanding an OST program in your community (September 2018) – Download PDF

Follow the Money:  A Tool for Mapping Funds for Out-of-School Time Initiatives (November 2009) – Download PDF

These grants develop school-community partnership programs that improve the educational performance of at-risk children and youth by providing comprehensive, coordinated arts education services and programs, especially programs incorporating arts education standards. Read More

Target funds in-school arts programs that enhance students’ classroom curricula by bringing the arts and cultural experiences to schools, such as in-school performances, artist-in-residency programs and workshops in schools. More information

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is accepting grant requests through their Youth Literacy Grants program to provide funding for schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations to help students who are below grade level or are experiencing difficulty reading. More information

The Entertainment Software Association Foundation is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that make a difference in the lives’ of America’s youth. the Foundatin seeks to harness the collective power of interactive entertainment by funding programs that utilize technology or computer and video games to educate America’s youth. More information

The Wish You Well Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations that promote family literacy in the United States. The focus of the foundation’s grantmaking is on the development and expansion of new and and existing literacy and educational programs. More information

DHRS supports a wide range of programs that serve vulnerable children including children who are ill, orphaned, disabled, injured, abused, or malnourished as well as children with limited or no access to education. More information

The Albertson’s Foundation supports nonprofit organizations whose mission is aligned with the company’s four priority areas: hunger relief, education, health and human services, and/or assisting people with disabilities. Education grants are awarded in support of youth development organizations as well as a broad range of afterschool and physical education programs. More information

We’ve extended the deadline for nominations for the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards! You now have until Oct. 21 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to nominate an afterschool program (staff can also nominate their own program) serving middle schoolers for a chance to win $10,000 and be featured in our series of issue briefs and in our Afterschool in Action compendium!

The four categories this year are:

  • Students with Disabilities and Othr Special Needs and Afterschool
  • Why Data Matters: How Afterschool Programs Use Data to Improve Programming
  • The Role of Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards
  • Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School

For more detailed instructions on nominating an afterschool program, visit our MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards page.

One of the goals of the Verizon Foundation is to improve literacy and strengthen educational achievement for children and adults by preparing them for success in the 21st Century. The Verizon Foundation has a long history of supporting quality educational resources and literacy programs with a focus on preparing children to be successful; enabling teachers, parents and caregivers to help children learn; and educating adults so they are prepared to achieve their goals and contribute to their communities. More Information

Youth Service America supports and motivates youth, educators, and service-learning coordinators by distributing over 400 micro grants each year for service and service-learning initiatives. While most of the grants support projects that culminate on Global Youth Service Day in April, funding is also available for projects in the fall. Sign up to receive grant and awards announcements. More Information

Funds educator participation in high-quality professional development experiences or college study. More Information

For projects that engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter and improve habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. More Information

 Apply for a grant for a school garden, healthy afterschool meals, or breakfast in the classroom. Read More

Funding is available to K-12 schools enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60. The competitive, nationwide funding program can help your school jumpstart and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. More Information

The Wild Ones Seeds for Education Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other non-profit and not-for-profit places of learning in the United States, including houses of worship, with a site available for a stewardship project. More Information

We know finding the financial resources to plant and maintain a youth garden is one of the biggest obstacles educators and volunteers face, so in addition to providing our own grant programs, here is a list of some additional grant opportunities that support youth garden programs

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. More Information  

Environmetal Opportunities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting grant applications for $1.9 million in funding for environmental education projects and programs that promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers and citizens.  More Information

The National Environmental Education Foundation, with major support from the NEA Foundation and in partnership with EarthEcho International, will award $10,000 to a K-12 public school that has most successfully implemented an innovative, sustainable and replicable school-wide greening effort that has involved and benefitted its students. Two merit awards of $5,000 each will also be given to schools that demonstrate this kind of success. More Information

Helping facilitate the development and implementation of holistic environmental curricula that incorporate basic ecological principles and field environmental activities within a primary or secondary school setting. More Information

Have an idea for an environmental service-learning project for your students? Need funds to implement it? PLT GreenWorks! grants of up to $3,000 are available. More Information

Remote Learning

Teaching On-line:

  • Outschool: Offers Online Teacher Training on setting up your online classroom and getting started with teaching online. Look for videos and live trainings here
  • Inequities of Distance Learning (from EENM)PDF HERE
  • CSTA Resources: The Computer Science Teachers Association has compiled resources to assist in virtual teaching.
  • Afterschool Alliance: A collection of resources, videos and information about offering virtual content may be found here.

On-line Safety and Privacy:

Low Cost Internet Access: