Program Observation Tool

General Information for Program Staff

This Program Observation Tool can be a valuable resource for assessing afterschool environments.

Print the Program Observation Tool and bring it to your program to fill out during the afterschool period. Make sure to observe children at snack time and when they are physically active. When completing the tool, it is important to honestly assess what you see during the afterschool day so that the results can be used to help you set and meet goals for improving nutrition and physical activity practices.

At the end of the afterschool day, take 5-10 minutes to report your observations by clicking the Begin Assessment button below. You will see how your daily practice aligned with the Environmental Standards, and you will be linked to helpful tip sheets for ideas on how to make healthy changes in your program. You can also complete a Program Observation Tool every day for 5 days, and then click on the Graph link below to record your results. The interactive graph will illustrate how your weekly practices align with the Environmental Standards Goals.

Getting started

Take some time to plan how you will best observe the physical activity and eating practices and behaviors of the children in your program. You may not be able to see everything that's going on in the program, but planning ahead will ensure you prioritize when to be where. It is important that the person who completes this assessment can observe all or most of the snack and physical activity time during your program. Review the questions and the Glossary of Terms so you know what information you'll need to report on. Consider the following:

  • When is physical activity offered? Is it offered at different times or all at once?
  • Do kids break out into different groups for physical activity? If so, where in the building do these groups meet?
  • When is snack served? Do all the kids eat together or at different times?

If you have a schedule of the program day you may want to use it to plan out your observations. But, do not use your schedule to fill in this tool. What you record should be a measure of what actually happened during the afterschool day.

Record your results!

Click on the button below to fill in the results from the Program Observation Tool to see how program practices align with the Environmental Standards. You will also get linked to tip sheets for ideas on how to start making healthy changes in your program!

If you have completed this assesment every day for 5 days, click on the button below to record your results and view interactive graphs of how your practices align with the Environmental Standards.