What’s Happening in After-School Programs?

This week, the Alberta Centre for Active Living released an environmental scan on participation and opportunities to participate in physical activity in After-school Programs in Alberta.

Happily enough, the report finds that 61% of after-school programs offer more than 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day, 78% of programs include 30 minutes or more of active play and 79% of after-school program managers identified that it is possible to provide daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in Alberta after-school programs.

However, the report also identifies important barriers to and ways to further increase participate in after-shool physical activities:

• improvements/alterations to indoor space (50%),
• physical activity training or workshops for staff (47%),
• resource manuals for staff, with lesson plans (42%), and
• portable equipment, e.g., balls, pylons, ropes, mats, etc. (41%).

The focus group sessions identified the most common barriers to physical activity as space (lack of space or proper space for activity) and a lack of specialized staff training and workshops.

The report also notes that most programs plan at least 60 mins of sedentary time. The most common types of sedentary activities included in after-school programs were:

• doing crafts (93%),
• eating (90%),
• reading (87%),
• making art (86%)
• doing homework (82%).

The report has a number of important recommendations for after-school program managers, policy makers and parents.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Edmonton, Alberta