Why After-School Matters for Positive Youth Development

  • Karen PittmanEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


The developmental importance of informal and experiential learning in child and adolescent development has been well documented. The terms non-academic and non-cognitive are increasingly being used to describe abilities that are important for educational success, reflecting tenets of positive youth development. Indeed, educators, policy makers and end-users are now calling for more and better learning opportunities and better and broader learning outcomes. After-school leaders and positive youth development researchers and champions have a unique opportunity to inform and even shape these new discussions. Doing so, however, will require greater discipline and closer collaboration between researchers and practitioners than has been needed in the past. This chapter reflects on the history and importance of the relationship between the after-school and positive youth development fields and presents next steps for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers who want to help move positive youth development principles more firmly into after-school policy and practice. Doing so would not only position after-school programs as critical contexts for positive youth development, but demonstrate the transferability and relevance of the assessment, training and improvement tools created for after-school programs for other systems and settings charged with supporting youths’ learning.


Positive youth development After-School programs Out-of-School time Extended learning Education policy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Forum for Youth InvestmentWashington, DCUSA

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