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News and Opinion Feb 25, 2020

Turnaround for Children Facilitates S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Webinar

Turnaround for Children President and CEO, Brigid Ahern, and  Partnership Director, Katie Brackenridge, facilitated a webinar presented by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. The session titled “Developing the Whole Child: Integrating the Science of Learning Across All Youth Development Settings” was attended by grantees of the foundation’s character programs as well as the Foundation’s program leaders, board members and state leaders.

During the session, Ahern and Brackenridge introduced participants to the science of learning and development and drew connections from this field to longstanding practices in out-of-school, after-school and youth development programs and institutions. They discussed the core principles from neuroscientific, developmental, and learning science research describing the critical role that context–the environments, relationships and experiences to which children are exposed–plays in brain development. Ahern explained how stress and trauma can impact children’s development and described how participants can build positive contexts around children both in and out of school.

The Forum for Youth Investment Co-Founder, President and CEO, Karen Pittman, who is also a member of the board of directors of Turnaround for Children, also shared insights on how the science of learning and development has influenced her work in out-of-school time youth programs, and drew connections to the work of The Weikart Center. Meg Pitman, MSW, National Director, Quality Improvement for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, also spoke about the many ways organization’s framework and thinking is highly aligned to key findings from the science.

To close, grantees were challenged to think of ways they could apply the science of learning and development and integrate a whole-child vision into their own organization’s work.