For Immediate Release: October 4, 2012
“After School Gets Moving” (ASGM), a physical activity training toolkit designed to be a comprehensive, low-cost, and easily accessible resource for urban afterschool program professionals to promote physical activity among children ages 6-10, was recently evaluated and determined to be a compelling professional development resource that promotes safer and healthier physical activity in out-of-school time programs.
Designed and developed by Vida Health Communications, Inc. of Cambridge with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), ASGM includes a DVD and printed corresponding exercises for out-of-school-time (OST) program staff. The program evaluation showed that the intervention had a significant and positive effect on staff members’ skills in delivering the physical activity programming with youth.
The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College conducted the comprehensive outcomes evaluation of the media-based training resource, also with funding from the CDCP. Georgia Hall, Ph.D., senior research scientist at NIOST, the principal investigator for the study, used a rigorous experimental design to assess the effectiveness of ASGM on: relevant staff knowledge and skill, the individual sites’ level of physical activity programming, and the amount of physical activity children experience during the afterschool program hours.
Hall and her colleagues identified programs in four cities across the country to participate in ASGM. A total of 308 children—an average of eight children per site—and 126 after school program activity staff members—an average of three per site—participated in the study. Researchers observed the programs at two time points, interviewed program directors, engaged activity staff in a survey, and monitored youth activity using pedometers.
“Program directors working in test sites were re-surveyed ten weeks after our baseline data collection and they were significantly more likely than control site directors to report that their program staff was more excited, active, and encouraging when they delivered physical activities,” reports Hall. “Further, the staff in test sites overwhelmingly reported that the intervention was not just a valuable professional development tool but that it helped them overcome space and scheduling limitations with creative solutions. ‘After School Gets Moving' is clearly a compelling professional development resource for out-of-school-time programs.”
The study documents the association of specific professional development/training with the volume of physical activity youth experience in afterschool programs while assessing the value added of media-based professional development and document effective training implementation strategies. Highlights from the evaluation can be found online.
For more than 30 years, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College has advanced the afterschool field through its research, education and training, consultation, and field-building. Much of NIOST’s work has encompassed projects of national scope and influence focusing on building out-of-school time systems and high quality experiences for children and youth. Georgia Hall, Ph.D. specializes in research and evaluation on youth development programs, settings, and learning experiences. Learn more about NIOST online.
Vida Health Communications, Inc. drives better health outcomes through innovative learning designs for clinical, patient and lay audiences. The “After School Gets Moving” toolkit includes a staff development DVD, a video game demonstration guide, and a 37-page Leader’s Guide, for after school program directors to train after school program staff, paraprofessionals, and volunteers who work in after school programs serving children in grades K-5. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has listed the ASGM toolkit in the Healthy Schools Program (HSP) Resource Database. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is making free copies of the ASGM toolkit available to Healthy Schools Program members.