Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Adolescent; Child; Child Development; Occupational Therapy


"Each day in America, millions of kids go home to an empty house after school" (Afterschool Alliance, 2009, p.1). The Afterschool Alliance (2009) indicates that based on a 2009 survey of30,000 families, there are more children unsupervised each afternoon in the U.S. and the demand for afterschool programming is higher than ever. In the United States, 30% of middle school students and 4% of elementary aged children are responsible for taking care of themselves and only 15% currently participate in an afterschool program (Afterschool Alliance, 2009, pg. 4). Students are at particular risk during these hours, millions are unsupervised each afternoon and the unmet need is huge (Afterschool Alliance, 2009).

"According to the 2000 U.S. Census, minors constitute approximately 25.7% of the U.S. population and many live in environments that may limit their education, health, and social well-being" (Hishinuma, Chang, Sy, Greaney, Morris, Rehuher & Nishimura, 2009, p. 988). "Evidence is mounting that where and how youth spend their time outside of normal school hours has important implications for their development" (Durlak & Weissberg, 2007, p5). The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (2009) states that youth who participate in a wide range of activities such as volunteering or after school activities are likely to have positive developmental outcomes.

The focus of this scholarly project was to develop an occupation-based toolkit to aid in the development of after school programs. Occupation-based refers to an activity that is purposeful and meaningful to the individual who is performing it (Frank, Fishman, Crowley, Blair, Murphy, Montoya, et. al., 2001). In addition to occupation-based activities, a number of areas are addressed to promote positive youth development using meaningful activities that have been shown to be effective in current afterschool programs.

A literature review was conducted to identify: 1) the youth most at risk who could benefit from afterschool programming; 2) what are the barriers to accessing afterschool programs; 3) the best practices of afterschool programming and; 4) what is the potential role of occupational therapy (OT) in afterschool programming. During the literature review best practices were identified as: meaningful, occupation-based activities, life skills, creative exploration, communication and social interaction and physical activity.

The findings from the literature review resulted in the development of an occupation-based toolkit. The best practices mentioned above, built the foundation upon which the toolkit was developed. Barriers found in the literature review, were also addressed in the toolkit. The toolkit is a resource that Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants and teachers can use to implement an occupation-based afterschool program.

The Afterschool Toolkit for Implementing Occupation-Based Activities was designed to meet the needs of youth in low-income households who would benefit from the opportunity to participate in an afterschool program. The goal of this toolkit was to provide occupation-based activities to increase the positive outcomes gained from participation in afterschool programs such as; positive youth interactions, establishment of essential life skills and development of healthy physical routines and leisure interests.