Healthy Out-of-School Time

Making the Most of Out-of-School Time

Healthy Environments for All On-Campus Activities

What happens on school grounds—before, during and after school—can have a big impact on a child’s health and learning. Out-of-School Time programs are any before-school and after-school programs held on a school campus or facility. These offerings can be academic, specialty (focusing on academic, athletic or artistic enrichment), or a multipurpose program that provide a variety of activities like the Boys & Girls Club or YMCA.

Any time a child is on campus, it is important to ensure a healthy school environment. This includes providing nutritious and appealing foods and beverages, consistent and accurate messages about nutrition, and ways to practice healthy eating and physical activity. Connecting with Out-of-School Time programs about making healthy snacks and opportunities for physical activity available, can ensure students have a consistent environment of wellness.

Connecting Schools with Out-of-School Time Programs

Coordination between schools and Out-of-School Time program staff and leaders allows for collaboration on positive nutrition messaging and physical activity opportunities on school grounds. School districts can enhance connection with Out-of-School Time staff by:
  • Inviting program leaders to join the School Health Advisory Councils at both the school and district level, providing them an opportunity to help shape wellness initiatives and buy-into their implementation for a holistic approach to creating a school culture of wellness. 
  • Reviewing local wellness policies to see how they address physical activity and nutrition before or after school.
School wellness committees can use the School Health Index to guide planning efforts related to school health programming, policies and messaging on school grounds—before, during and after school. Out-of-School Time program staff should be engaged in completing assessments and development action plans.

Providing Nutritious Meals and Snacks

All Out-of-School Time programs should follow the nutrition standards provided by Food Research & Action Center’s Afterschool Meal Program and Summer Food Service Program to improve children’s diet quality and food security, which supports their physical and mental health as well as their ability to learn.

Get Kids Moving

Physical activity can improve concentration and memory. Before-school and after-school programs, as well as physical activity clubs and sports teams, are key components of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. Having a comprehensive physical activity program helps schools ensure they are using Out-of-School Time to promote physical wellness and are encouraging students to identify activities they enjoy and might engage in long-term.