2022 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (CA-OST) 16: Indoor Environment and Materials

The indoor environment and materials meet the needs of children and youth and support program goals.




Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe indoor facility and materials


CA-OST 16.01

There is enough room in the indoor space for program activities, and the space is arranged to: 
  1. accommodate the activities offered;
  2. minimize crowding and disruptions, including when multiple activities go on at the same time;
  3. promote socialization and interactivity among participants; and
  4. accommodate children and youth who wish to rest or be alone.


The amount of space needed will vary depending on the type of activities offered. For example, there should be approximately 35 to 45 square feet per child/youth for small group enrichment activities such as woodworking, arts and crafts, or science experiments; approximately 25 to 35 square feet per child/youth for quiet activities such as homework, reading, or club meetings; and approximately 75 to 100 square feet per child/youth when indoor space is used for active play (e.g., dance, aerobics, or basketball).
Examples: Space can be arranged to accommodate the activities offered with minimal disruption by, for example, facilitating activities that require water for clean-up near the sink; separating active play from quiet activities (e.g., children and youth doing homework should not be distracted by loud music); and designating pathways that allow children and youth to move from one place to another without disturbing ongoing activities.


CA-OST 16.02

Furniture is: 
  1. in good condition;
  2. appropriate to the ages and sizes of children and youth; and
  3. sufficient to accommodate the number of children and youth.


CA-OST 16.03

Visual displays: 
  1. support the goals of the program;
  2. feature work created by program participants (e.g., artwork); and
  3. incorporate items of interest to program participants, including items selected or arranged by children and youth.


COA recognizes that it may be difficult for organizations to implement this standard if they share another organization or agency’s space.


CA-OST 16.04

Supplies and equipment are: 
  1. suited to the activities offered and the goals of the program;
  2. designed to support and encourage creativity;
  3. in good condition;
  4. sufficient for the number of children and youth in the program; and
  5. appropriate to the ages and developmental levels of program participants, including for children and youth with differing levels of skill and ability.


When children are required to share materials or equipment (e.g., a computer or microscope) there should be a system in place to minimize wait time and facilitate orderly access for all.


CA-OST 16.05

There is adequate and convenient storage space for equipment, materials, and personal possessions of children, youth, and personnel.
Examples: An organization can demonstrate implementation of this standard by, for example: ensuring materials used frequently and works-in-progress are readily accessible to children and youth; storing bulk materials and things not currently in use in other places; and making sure that personnel rarely have to carry heavy equipment or large amounts of materials long distances (or providing portable equipment on wheels when it is necessary to do so.)