Latina Elementary School Girls’ Experiences in an Urban After-School Physical Education and Literacy Program

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $63.00

1 year subscription

USD  $84.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $119.00

2 year subscription

USD  $156.00

Purpose: To understand where and how Latina girls are physically active outside of the Reflective Educational Approach to Character and Health program and the impact of female role models on participation in the program. Methods: The authors implemented a yearlong after-school physical activity and literacy program for fifth and sixth grade girls (N = 22 girls) in a low-income, urban community. Four university students/coaches delivered all sessions. Data were triangulated through 10 Latina girls’ interviews, student journals, coaches’ journals, researcher journals, and field notes, and analyzed using constant comparison. Results: Girls participated in leisure-time physical activities with family in community spaces, in spite of social and cultural barriers. Female coaches facilitated girls’ increased engagement by acting as strong role models and fostering caring relationships. Conclusion: After-school programs, community spaces, and strong connections with coaches play a critical role in students’ engagement in physical activity.

Marttinen is with George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA. Simon is with the Department of Physical Education and Health Education, Springfield College, Springfield, MA, USA. Phillips is with the Department of Health Studies and Kinesiology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, USA. Fredrick is with the Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences (FNES), Queens College, The City University of New York, Flushing, NY, USA.

Marttinen (rmarttin@gmu.edu) is corresponding author.
  • Afterschool Alliance. (2014). America after 3 PM: Afterschool programs in demand. Washington, DC: Author.

  • Afterschool Alliance. (2016). America after 3 PM special report: Afterschool in communities of concentrated poverty. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/Concentrated_Poverty.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Annesi, J., Westcott, W., Faigenbaum, A., & Unruh, J. (2005). Effects of a 12-week PA protocol delivered by YMCA after-school counselors (youth fit for life) on fitness and self-efficacy changes in 5–12-year-old boys and girls. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76(4), 468476. PubMed ID: 16739685 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Azzarito, L., & Hill, J. (2013). Girls looking for a “second home”: Bodies, difference and places of inclusions. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 18(4), 351375. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Basch, C.E. (2011). Healthier students are better learners: A missing link in school reforms to close the achievement gap. Journal of School Health, 81(10), 593598. PubMed ID: 21923870 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beets, M.W., Beighle, A., Erwin, H.E., & Huberty, J.L. (2009). After-school program impact on physical activity and fitness: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(6), 527537. PubMed ID: 19362799 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.), Six theories of child development: Revised formulations and current issues (pp. 187249). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camacho-Miñano, M.J., LaVoi, N.M., & Barr-Anderson, D.J. (2011). Interventions to promote physical activity among young and adolescent girls: A systematic review. Health Education Research, 26(6), 10251049. PubMed ID: 21680763 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(6), 1174.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Childhood obesity facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clonan-Roy, K., Jacobs, C.E., & Nakkula, M.J. (2016). Towards a model of positive youth development specific to girls of color: Perspectives on development, resilience, and empowerment. Gender Issues, 33(2), 96121. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Creswell, J., & Poth, C. (2016). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cronan, M.K., Shinew, K.J., Schneider, I., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., & Chavez, D. (2008). PA patterns and preferences among Latinos in different types of public parks. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 5(6), 894908.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Daisey, P., & Jose-Kampfner, C. (2002). The power of story to expand possible selves for Latina middle school students. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(7), 578587.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dwyer, J., Allison, K., Goldenberg, E., Fein, A., Yoshida, K., & Boutilier, M. (2006). Adolescent girls’ perceived barriers to participation in PA. Adolescence, 41(161), 7589. PubMed ID: 16689442

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foran, A.C., Cermak, S.A., & Spruijt-Metz, D. (2013). Psychosocial determinants of participation in moderate-to-vigorous PA among Hispanic and Latina middle school-aged girls. Hispanic Health Care International, 11(3), 142148. PubMed ID: 24830915 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, M., Chan-Golston, A.M., Rice, L.N., Roth, S.E., Crespi, C.M., Cole, B.L., . . . Prelip, M.L. (2018). Correlates of social support and its association with physical activity among young adolescents. Health Education & Behavior, 45(2), 207216. PubMed ID: 28789574 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gomez, J.E., Johnson, B.A., Selva, M., & Sallis, J.F. (2004). Violent crime and outdoor physical activity among inner-city youth. Preventive Medicine, 39(5), 876881. PubMed ID: 15475019 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hamre, B.K., Pianta, R.C., Burchinal, M., Field, S, Crouch, J.L., Downer, J.T., . . . Little, C.S. (2012). A course on effective teacher-child interactions: Effects on teacher beliefs, knowledge, and observed practice. American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 88123. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hannay, J., Dudley, R., Milan, S., & Leibovitz, P.K. (2013). Combining photovoice and focus groups: Engaging Latina teens in community assessment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3), S215S224. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hasson, R.E. (2018). Addressing disparities in physical activity participation among African American and Latino youth. Kinesiology Review, 7(2), 163172. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Highland, K.B., Lundahl, A., Kidwell, K.M., Hankey, M., Caballos, M., & McChargue, D. (2016). Latina and non-Latina mothers’ perceived health barriers and benefits and their relationship to children’s health behaviors. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(6), 13051313. PubMed ID: 27003152 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hill, J. (2015). Girls’ active identities: Navigating othering discourses of femininity, bodies and physical education. Gender and Education, 27(6), 666684. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holt, N.L., Neely, K.C., Slater, L.G., Camiré, M., Côté, J., Fraser-Thomas, J., . . . Tamminen, K.A. (2017). A grounded theory of positive youth development through sport based on results from a qualitative meta-study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10(1), 149. PubMed ID: 27695511 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnston, K., Marttinen, R., Fredrick, R., & Bhat, V. (2019). Girl’s experiences in a PYD sport program: Developing a participant-centered space. Journal of Youth Development, 14(1), 93111. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knopf, J., Hahn, R., Proia, K., Truman, B., Johnson, R., Muntaner, C., . . . Milstein, B. (2015). Out-of-school-time academic programs to improve school achievement: A community guide health equity systematic review. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 21(6), 594608. PubMed ID: 26062096 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marshall, C., & Rossman, G.B. (2013). Designing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Marttinen, R., & Fredrick, R. (2017). R.E.A.C.H: A case for after school physical education. Strategies, 30(1), 814. doi:

  • Marttinen, R., Fredrick, R., Johnston, K., Phillips, S., & Patterson, D. (2020). Implementing the REACH after-school program for youth in urban communities: Challenges and lessons learned. European Physical Education Review, 26(2), 410428. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marttinen, R., Johnston, K., Phillips, S., Fredrick, R., & Meza, B. (2019). REACH Harlem: Young urban boys experiences in an after-school PA positive youth development program. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 24(4), 373389. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCombs, J.S., Whitaker, A.A., & Yoo, P.Y. (2017). The value of out-of-school time programs. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

  • Merriam, S.B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  • Moore, L.V., Roux, A.V.D., Evenson, K.R., McGinn, A.P., & Brines, S.J. (2008). Availability of recreational resources in minority and low socioeconomic status areas. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34(1), 1622. PubMed ID: 18083446 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Munet-Vilaró, F., Chase, S.M., & Echeverria, S. (2018). Parks as social and cultural spaces among U.S.- and foreign-born Latinas. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 40(10), 14341451. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, L., & Demaio, A. (2018). Understanding and removing barriers to PA: One key in addressing child obesity. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(20), 12841285. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Noddings, N. (1984). Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Noddings, N. (1995). Teaching themes of care. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(9), 675679.

  • Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 771781. doi:

  • Oliver, K.L., & Hamzeh, M. (2010). The boys won’t let us play. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 81(1), 3851. PubMed ID: 20387397 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oliver, K.L., & Lalik, R. (2001). The body as curriculum: Learning with adolescent girls. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 33(30), 303333. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parks, S.E., Housemann, R.A., & Brownson, R.C. (2004). Differential correlates of PA in urban and rural adults of various socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 57(1), 2935. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pitts, M.J., & Miller-Day, M. (2007). Upward turning points and positive rapport-development across time in researcher-participant relationships. Qualitative Research, 7(2), 177201. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rhodes, J., Lowe, S.R., Litchfield, L., & Walsh-Samp, K. (2008). The role of gender in youth mentoring relationship formation and duration. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(2), 183192. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robbins, L.B., Pender, N.J., & Kazanis, A.S. (2003). Barriers to PA perceived by adolescent girls. The Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 48(3), 206212. PubMed ID: 31580717 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sabo, D., & Veliz, P. (2008). Go out and play: Youth sports in America. East Meadow, NY: Women’s Sports Foundation.

  • Smith, B., & McGannon, K.R. (2018). Developing rigor in qualitative research: Problems and opportunities within sport and exercise psychology. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11(1), 101121.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spencer, M.B. (2006). Phenomenology and ecological systems theory: Development of diverse groups. In W. Damon & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 829893). New York, NY: Wiley.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spencer, M.B., Dupree, D., & Hartmann, T. (1997). A Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST): A self-organization perspective in context. Development and Psychopathology, 9(4), 817833. PubMed ID: 9449007 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stanton-Salazar, R.D., & Spina, U. (2003). Informal mentors and role models in the lives of urban Mexican-origin adolescents. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 34(3), 231254. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Subramaniam, R. (2011). A holistic approach to promoting physical activity among school-age children. Strategies, 25(1), 2325. doi:

  • Trilk, J.L., Ward, D.S., Dowda, M., Pfeiffer, K.A., Porter, D.E., Hibbert, J., & Pate, R.R. (2011). Do physical activity facilities near schools affect physical activity in high school girls? Health & Place, 17(2), 651657. PubMed ID: 21334248 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vandell, D.L., Reisner, E., & Pierce, K. (2007). Outcomes linked to high-quality after-school programs: Longitudinal findings from the study of promising afterschool programs. Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vaughan, C.A., Cohen, D.A., & Han, B. (2018). How do racial/ethnic groups differ in their use of neighborhood parks? Findings from the national study of neighborhood parks. Journal of Urban Health, 95(5), 739749. PubMed ID: 29916006 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wade, C. (2015). The longitudinal effects of after-school program experiences, quantity, and regulatable features on children’s social-emotional development. Children and Youth Services Review, 48, 7079. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watson, A., Eliott, J., & Mehta, K. (2015). Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in PA during the school lunch break for girls ages 12–13 years. European Physical Education Review, 21(2), 257271. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yin, R.K. (2017) Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Zarrett, N., Abraczinskas, M., Skiles Cook, B., Wilson, D., & Ragaban, F. (2018). Promoting physical activity within under-resourced afterschool programs: A qualitative investigation of staff experiences and motivational strategies for engaging youth. Applied Developmental Science, 22(1), 5873. PubMed ID: 30147291 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 108 108 66
Full Text Views 4 4 3
PDF Downloads 3 3 3