Two middle students cutting out shapes from cardboard
ELO: Expanded Learning Opportunities logo

Building high-quality, equitable, enrichment opportunities for school-aged children and youth (ages 5-18)

ELO: Expanded Learning Opportunities logo

Building high-quality, equitable, enrichment opportunities for school-aged children and youth (ages 5-18)

ELO small watermark leaves

Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO)

Cultivate Learning has broadened our scope to include the ELO field. ELO provides a wide range of enrichment opportunities to school-age children and youth (ages 5-18). These programs operate during out-of-school time, during summers, and on weekends in diverse settings such as parks and recreation departments, youth centers, after-school programs, sports organizations, and community service programs. After almost twenty years of work in evaluation, system building, and professional development for early learning programs, it’s time that we expand our work to improving quality and equity, beyond early learning to youth as old as 18 years.

Middle school aged students raising hands and participating with a teacher
ELO small watermark leaves

Our Impact on Children and Youth

Studies show that attendance and participation in ELO programs have been linked to numerous academic and non-academic gains, including increased school attendance and participation in class, better grades, reduced likelihood of substance abuse, and even better physical, social, and emotional development and well-being.

Circle Time Magazine is a unique professional development series that offers a web-based talk show, magazine, and online resources with each episode. This season we’re partnering with School’s Out Washington to look at quality teaching practices with an expanded age range. We’ll be especially focused on school-age children, and discuss practical strategies for working with children ages birth to 12 years old. Many providers serve both early childhood and school-age children. Right now during the COVID-19 pandemic many programs have expanded their services. Some providers are serving school-age kids for the first time and other programs are serving school-age children all day and are supporting remote learning. This season will review practices to support both experienced and new school-age care providers. Learn about creating safe, culturally responsive learning environments, building social-emotional skills, and cultivating empowering relationships with children.


ELO Two-Minute Tips

Two-minute tips are quick, simple, research-based strategies for ELO professionals. The tips focus primarily on strategies for working directly with children and youth, but also cover tips for program leadership and self-care. Each tip contains a short introduction, links the strategy to research-based outcomes, provides short practice tips for implementation, and a video of the strategy in action.

Showing Up: A Trauma Informed Care Podcast

Sustainable Well-Being
This episode is all about sustainable well-being. We’ll be chatting with Areebah from YouthLine, Tai Mattox from Space Between, and Kahae Rikeman from YouthLine.
Space Between - Home
YouthLine • A teen crisis helpline with teen to teen support
Additional Resources:
Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue
FamilyCare, CommunityCare and SelfCare Tool Kit: Healing in the Face of Cultural Trauma
Two-Minute Tips from Cultivate Learning
Two-Minute Tips are quick, simple professional development resources. Here are some Tips related to this episode.

Book Recommendations:
Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens, and Families
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
Mental Health Hotlines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
NAMI HelpLine

ELO small watermark leaves

The Early Start Act and Quality Initiative Pilot

In Washington State, education policymakers have turned their attention to creating access and equity to quality ELO programs. The Early Start Act, among other directives called for a pilot of a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for programs serving school-age children.

In 2016, The Department of Early Learning launched the ELO Quality Initiative, whose ultimate goal is to build a high-quality, equitable, state-supported ELO system for Washington’s school-age children and youth. We developed and implemented a unique study design that captured both an understanding of the quality of existing programs and the impact of coaching on program improvement over a period of eight months.

In year two, Cultivate Learning launched a second ELO study to refine our coaching impact, create new learning opportunities for the field, and engage youth voices in defining ELO quality.

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