We empower youth development leaders to adapt, implement, and scale research-validated quality improvement systems to advance child and youth development.
Based on decades of expert research and real-world experience, the Weikart Center’s pyramid of program quality takes the abstract idea of quality and breaks it down into manageable targets for continuous improvement efforts.
Building a safe environment is the first step to improving the quality of experiences for young people. Ensuring that an environment also feels supportive is the second prerequisite for creating a space where young people feel empowered to learn and lead. Once a space is safe and supportive, making it as interactive and engaging as possible rounds out the kind of environment essential to young people’s ability to develop skills and reach higher-order goals.
The Weikart Center’s signature Youth Program Quality Improvement (YPQI) approach harnesses the power of research evidence and the experience of practitioners to improve the quality of youth experiences in OST programming from the ground up. The YPQI uses evidence-based materials and practices that can be customized and applied in any program type, size, or setting.
From data-driven tools to expert trainings, we equip leaders with the positive youth development and SEL-informed resources they need to create a culture of continuous improvement for staff and young people.
Youth leaders in nearly every state have used the YPQI to improve the quality of youth experiences in OST programming. The Weikart Center has worked with partners in Mexico and supports ongoing efforts in Canada and the U.K. as well.
Scroll the timeline to learn more about the history of the Weikart Center & the research behind the resources we offer.