As afterschool programs across Palm Beach County prepare for a new year filled with educational experiences, fun activities and healthy snacks, Prime Time Palm Beach County’s Quality Improvement Team is bringing it back-to-basics. Quality Advisors Junior Beauzier, Andrea Hurtado and Anita Winkis were joined by Prime Time’s Director of Quality Improvement Teal Chance to host a workshop for all three of Kingswood Academy’s afterschool locations (Greenacres, Lake Worth and Palm Springs).
Throughout the morning, staff learned key ingredients for out-of-school time (OST) success as they discussed their quality goals for the upcoming year while engaging in interactive activities.
The morning began with an icebreaker, where OST staff passed a ball of yarn to all members of the group while introducing themselves. The activity served to highlight how we are all connected to each other and can work together for our common goal of elevating youth experiences.
“When asking my directors how I can serve them best, what comes up time and time again is relearning their basics and understanding the importance of rebuilding the foundation. From coaching to observation and reflection to program designed workshops – everything connects.”
– Andrea Hurtado, Quality Advisor
The highlight of the afternoon was a brief demonstration on the importance of planning, not just for OST staff, but for the children they serve. Winkis demonstrated this important aspect of afterschool success by having the staff split into two teams and have only one minute to see how many paper airplanes they could get across to the other team’s side. In a frantic hurry, OST staff folded and threw their planes, with only a few paper planes reaching the goal. They reflected on the experience saying how they felt stressed, unprepared and rushed. They then repeated the activity with five minutes to plan and strategize, yielding far better results. As the morning progressed quality advisors shared how providing space for young people to discuss, analyze and engage in teamwork, helps further their academic learning.
Continuing the day, Hurtado facilitated a staff meeting at the H.L. Johnson Elementary Afterschool Program, complete with role playing transitions, practicing unique attention getters and reflecting on the importance of staying on schedule. She shared the benefits of being a Palm Beach County Quality Improvement site and joining the Out-of-school time registry. Practitioners were excited to learn about opportunities to further their education with Palm Beach State College and Prime Time’s new 90-minute training offerings. As Palm Beach County afterschool programs prepare for so many new things, one thing remains the same: Prime Time and Palm Beach County’s out-of-school time professional’s commitment to increasing program quality and be the best they can be for the children and youth they serve.