PCS Meets Quality Standards for  Expanded Learning Programs

PCS Meets Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs

Out-of-School Time (OST) is where the magic happens — where educators transform the skills students learn in school into lifelong strategies. Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs), often referred to as ELO funding or ELO grants, across the country are implementing Quality Standards to ensure that OST programs provide safe, structured environments where all learners can hone their talents.

Are there any funding options available for ELO-aligned STEAM programs?

YES! PCS Edventures’ products are eligible for ELO funding and meet states’ Quality Standards.

Let’s reveal how as we pull back the curtain on:

  • Active and engaged learning
  • Skill building
  • Youth voice and leadership
  • Healthy behaviors
  • Diversity, access and equity
  • Sustainability

Keep reading to uncover programs that make STEAM the star of any learning environment year-round, dazzling learners of all ages with meaningful and captivating instruction.

🌟 Active and Engaged Learning:

Programs that promote active learning and collaboration while broadening learners’ perspectives.

To get the most out of OST, learners need to be fully engaged in collaborative activities that take them beyond the confines of the classroom. That’s why PCS Edventures’s evidence-based products are always hands-on, project-based learning experiences. Our programs encourage critical thinking, teamwork and creativity while allowing learners to explore the world around them. Here’s a peek at three fantastic enrichment programs:

BrickLAB Magic Beans, grades 1-3

Bring fractured fairy tales to life by combining Readers Theater and STEAM challenges! In BrickLAB Magic Beans, learners collaborate to perform and solve problems based on famous literary tales from around the world.

Traveling Artist, grades 4-6

Traveling is always more fun with a group! In Traveling Artist, learners explore the history and culture of 12 exciting global locations through hands-on art projects that spark creativity.

Survivor, grades 6-8

In Survivor, learners join forces with fellow survivalists for the adventure of a lifetime! Studying real-world survival skills and developing problem-solving prowess in nature's harshest elements.

🌟 Skill Building:

Programs that maintain high expectations with learning goals linked to 21st Century Skills.

What are 21st Century Skills and why are they so important for students to learn? In our rapidly changing world, learners need to be adaptable, tech-savvy, innovative and self-directed in order to succeed. By teaching learners these skills, we can prepare them for the future, no matter where their paths may lead.

Our products seamlessly blend some or all of these skills into engaging hands-on activities. But when it comes to linking Quality Standards to 21st Century Skills, we can’t help but think of a few of our favorites.

Scratch Camp, grades 1-3

In Scratch Camp, learners build interactive storyboards and games by using audio, video, animated characters and more in a hands-on process that boosts iterative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Da Vinci Camp, grades 4-6

Taking a page from one of history's greatest innovators, learners collaborate to better understand some of life’s most interesting questions in Da Vinci Camp

Video Production, grades 4-8

As filmmakers, learners explore the history and unique elements of storytelling with an editor’s eye in Video Production.

Regardless of the program that best fits your learning environment, learners are sure to look back on the experience as a time when they gained confidence and skills that will last them a lifetime.

🌟 Youth Voice and Leadership:

Programs that encourage learners’ unique voices and provide resources for authentic experiences.

How can educators create an environment that fosters individualized student growth? By providing learners with authentic opportunities to participate in the creation and execution of their learning.

STEAM activities give learners a platform to develop their skills and interests as well as to help them build a sense of self-efficacy. To support this, many of our programs feature STEM challenges based on student choice. Let’s take a look at two of our popular enrichment programs.

Drone Designers: Exploring STEAM Careers, grades 4-8
  • Teams choreograph drone performances.
  • Teams rotate roles to gain experience in all areas and discover their strengths.
  • Teams collaborate to design their drone’s unique costume.
Drone Designers
Discover Podcasting, grades 6-12
  • Teams choose podcast topics based on shared interests and pitched ideas.
  • Teams design their name and logo.
  • Teammates are responsible for different, preferred roles on their production team.
Discover Podcasting Lab

Once learners are ready to bring their ideas to life, we’ve ensured they have all the resources they need to create a product that mimics the process and quality of true professionals. Whether they're behind the microphone in their recording studio or on the controls of their mini drones, learners have several opportunities to discover their voice, passions and strengths.

🌟 Healthy Behaviors:

Programs that support learners in their quest for healthy habits.

Programs stocked with lessons that value nutrition and physical activity make incorporating good habits into instruction easy. PCS Edventures is passionate about Cultivating Healthy Learners and Boosting Student STEM Interest Through Sports Science. That’s why we’ve developed programs that get learners out of their seats:

Sports Science, grades 1-3

Kick-off OST with the science behind learners’ favorite sports in Sports Science. Help learners find their inner runner, jump roper, and yogi with this academic workout for every body and mind.

Science of the Human Body, grades 4-6

Get learners up and moving to uncover the mysteries of the human body in Science of the Human Body. With activities like measuring heart rate and learning the importance of refueling with proper nutrition, it’s a fun way to gain lifelong healthy habits.

Flying Disc, grades 6-8

What better way to learn physics than to experience it? Flying Disc spins the forces of motion into concepts that learners can grasp with game-based flying disc activities.

Make the most of OST by exploring the science behind physical activity while having fun and staying active. It’s the best way to encourage healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit learners for years to come.

🌟 Diversity, Access and Equity:

Programs that are inclusive and embrace diversity.

Everyone brings something different to a learning environment, and the best programs find a way to support and extend their strengths. For instance, cross-curricular lesson extensions found within each lesson boost learners’ understanding and provide further insight into a topic. Plus, hands-on, collaborative projects give learners the agency to share their stories and discoveries.

Many of our programs also provide a platform for those with limited access to technology to gain skills that are invaluable in the digital age:

Rockin' Robots, grades 1-3

Make coding fun and accessible with amazing, easy-to-use robots in Rockin' Robots.

Claymation, grades 4-8

Record original stop-motion videos and explore animation in Claymation.

Ready, Set, Drone!, grades 4-8

Fly into the world of aerial robotics as you pilot the 6 mini drones in Ready, Set, Drone!.

PCS Edventures’ programs are an ideal way to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from quality instruction by creating an inclusive environment where everyone can learn and thrive.

Want to see STEAM and equity in action? A look at 4 Ways STEM Meets Your Equity Goals shines a spotlight on Discover Podcasting, one of our most popular programs.

🌟 Sustainability:

Programs that provide ongoing opportunities for high-quality instruction.

An investment in PCS Edventures’ products ensures lasting, quality instruction. We offer comprehensive support and resources to help you deliver a successful program.

  • All materials are included.
  • Refills are available on select packages.
  • Programs qualify for grants, ELO-P and ESSER funding.
  • No experience is required.

We provide educators with easy-to-follow guides so they can deliver effective STEAM lessons regardless of their experience level. This allows your OST program to maintain quality instruction year after year.

Best of all, you can keep the learning going in perpetuity with any of our BrickLAB programs. Check out what Dori Atterberry of Eagle, ID had to say about them:

“I’ve been using PCS Edventures BrickLAB for 15 years; I’m still using my first set of bricks. They are so open-ended and can be used for anything and everything.”

Educators and learners who have experienced PCS programs often share their success and excitement with the larger community, opening the door for additional financial support.

What’s more, quality STEM instruction in OST directly affects communities. With a solid STEM foundation, learners gain career readiness and essential life skills, empowering them to make impactful contributions to society. Consequently, investing in STEM programs becomes a strategic and far-reaching investment that positively affects all members of a community. Contact a STEM program specialist to get started.

Discover Your Options for ELO Funding:

With a ton of options available for Expanded Learning programs, you're ready to unleash the magic of STEAM! Learn more about how ELO Funding Programs and PCS Edventures can work together to make quality products appear before your very eyes.

Subscribe to join the PCS Edventures STEMbassador Community. Receive exclusive perks and offers throughout the year.

Author: Jessica Ventre

An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.


California AfterSchool Network. (2014, September). Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California: Creating and Implementing a Shared Vision of Quality. https://drive.google.com/file/d/15tk08pZX8i8sbk5L9-Wa0GVlJ5qDZwJS/view

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