Expanding Horizons: How to Globalize Afterschool

Expanding Horizons is a guidebook that offers strategies and resources for the afterschool field on how to integrate international knowledge, skills, and experiences into its programs, and help our next generation become globally competent.

Expanding Horizons illustrates key concepts, provide concrete examples, and suggest activities across a wide variety of content and age ranges to give a sense of the potential for global learning.  The guide is not a curriculum, nor is it meant to be comprehensive of all subjects and areas in which afterschool programs are active.

The ideas and recommendations in this guide are drawn from more than 100 interviews with leaders in afterschool and international education fields; a panel of expert advisors; a review of relevant materials; and visits to afterschool programs in several cities. Many examples were mined from internationally oriented schools that take an interdisciplary and thematic approaches to learning about the world—qualities that fit with the afterschool setting. 

There is huge interest and enthusiasm for using global literacy as an opportunity to enhance quality and ensure equity. In this guide, the term “afterschool” includes summer, before-school, weekend, extended day, and other out-of-school time programs in a variety of settings. Some are run by school districts, community and youth organizations (such as YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc., 4-H, and others), community schools, colleges, summer camps, and libraries. 

The primary audiences for this guide are the leaders and directors of afterschool programs, state and regional networks, schools and districts, and coalitions and national organizations. Policymakers may also find the guide useful to help advocate for more opportunities to build global literacy in the afterschool field. The Expanding Horizons video can help you make the case and drive conversation among stakeholders.

This guide includes sections to assist you in:

  • Getting started by examining your program’s mission, goals, activities, and determining ways to take it global
  • Expanding horizons by building on the experiences of youth, families, and communities to help young people understand new cultures, view the world from multiple perspectives, and develop cross-cultural communication skills
  • Transforming learning to incorporate global content and experiences across a wide range of subjects and activities
  • Planning for global literacy through staff development, new partnerships, and evaluation strategies
  • Finding resources relevant to global literacy through the specific ideas, examples, and programs

International literacy can propel afterschool programs to a new level—across thresholds, boundaries, and cultures—and give young people new opportunities and skills to experience and engage the world.