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News and Opinion Oct 20, 2016

Getting Smart – Operation Breakthrough Early Childhood Learning and Turnaround

Getting SmartOn his blog, Getting Smart, Tom Vander Ark spotlights Operation Breakthrough, a single-site education and social services facility serving 400 children in Kansas City, Missouri. He considers the program to be “one of the most remarkable early learning programs in the country” due to its challenged population that faces high levels of trauma. The program provides so much more than childcare, supporting children socially, emotionally, cognitively and academically.  “It’s a sophisticated learning environment where the children often enroll with limited language – an inability to focus or interact. Yet they leave ready for success in kindergarten.”

Vander Ark goes on to highlight the importance of a trauma-informed approach with children facing high levels of adversity and cites Dr. Pamela Cantor, President and CEO of Turnaround for Children as an expert:

“In classrooms where lots of kids are under varying degrees of stress, one child acting out can set off other kids and shut down the learning environment for everyone,’ said Dr. Pamela Cantor, “If you have numerous children across the school with issues like that, you can produce a hugely negative culture and shut down learning in the building.”

Read Vander Ark’s full piece, A Great Early Start in Kansas City: Operation Breakthrough.