Books by Dave Whitaker

Check out Toolbox Training books and more at or David L. Whitaker's author page at

Friday, June 30, 2000

Program Philosophy

From House to Home
Originally published in The KC SAC Connection, issue 1: summer 2000
David Whitaker, Toolbox Training

My wife Becky and I have volunteered a couple of times for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat’s mission is to build houses for low-income families that might not otherwise be able to afford them. Becky and I recently saw a speaker who talked about House of Belief, an offshoot program of Habitat that helps homeowners reflect their personalities and interests through interior decorating. Much as Habitat expects homeowners to actively participate in the building of their homes, House of Belief wants owners to design their homes.

The speaker commented that her role was not to be the creative force that drives the design of the home, but to help homeowners discover their own creativity so that they can design the home themselves. To paraphrase one Habitat homeowner, a house doesn’t become a home until its owner has a hand in creating it. Similarly, our children’s SAC programs will not become theirs unless we let them have a hand in creating them.

We must remind ourselves that in our work with children, it is not our job to design the program for the children, but to help children discover their own creativity so that they can make the program meet their needs. We must allow our programs to become their programs.

National AfterSchool Association

Perspective from an NAA Endorser
Originally published in The KC SAC Connection, Issue 1 – Summer 2000
Information provided by Debbie Ervay, Liberty Latchkey in Liberty, MO.

Note: This article was written when the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) was still NSACA (National School Age Care Alliance). The information has been updated to reflect the change to the new NAA organization.

Debbie Ervay is a trained NAA endorser who offered her perspective on what the endorser training entails.

The training is very intense and covers a lot of information. NAA doesn't have any real hot spots; the evaluation wants to make sure that each program has all areas covered. The observation focuses on five areas:

1. Human Relationships. This includes a focus on staff to youth, youth to youth, staff to families, and staff to staff.

2. Indoor Environment. This area deals with how the indoor space meets the needs of the children.

3. Outdoor Environment. This area deals with how the outdoor space meets the needs of the children.

4. Activities. Focus is on daily schedule, variety of activities offered, how activities reflect the mission of the program, and assurance that there are sufficient materials for all children.

5. Safety, Health and Nutrition. This area looks at how the safety and security of children are protected, whether nutritious snacks are served, and if proper health guidelines are followed.

Debbie says, “going through the training makes me more aware of what is expected by the national guidelines for a program to be accredited. When visiting a program, I am aware of the programs strengths and weaknesses and through the observation tool can help a program become better.”

For more information on NAA accreditation, contact:

National AfterSchool Association
1137 Washington Street
Dorchester, MA 02124
Phone: 617-298-5012
Fax: 617-298-5022
Web site: