The purpose of the Culture of Continuous Learning Project is to explore how child care and Head Start programs can improve the quality of services they provide to children and families and sustain a culture of ongoing quality improvement. This project uses a specific training approach—the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC)—designed to support learning and improvement among practitioners at all levels of an organization, from directors to teachers who work in a classroom with children. While the BSC was originally designed for health care settings, we assessed the feasibility of implementing a BSC in child care and Head Start settings to support children’s social and emotional learning during Phase I of this project (2016-2021). In the second phase (2021-2026), we will assess the options for integrating a BSC into early care and education quality improvement systems. We will study whether a BSC can enhance existing Head Start and child care training and technical assistance activities to support social and emotional learning practices.

The Culture of Continuous Learning Project currently has three key activities:

  • Engage people who bring expertise and practical experience in child care and Head Start programs through all aspects of the project’s design, implementation, and interpretation.
  • Survey the landscape of training, technical assistance and quality improvement systems in Head Start and child care to understand their contexts and needs for supporting social and emotional learning.
  • Conduct a case study of BSC implementation in selected regional and/or state systems to assess the feasibility, costs, and perceived benefits.

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) has contracted Child Trends to conduct this phase of the Culture of Continuous Learning Project, with subcontracts to the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Mathematica, and JRA Consulting, Ltd.

What is the Breakthrough Series Collaborative?

This project is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families.

Related Documents

Culture of Continuous Learning Project: Theory of Change

Culture of Continuous Learning Project: A Literature Review of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative

CCL Full Report

CCL Report Summary for ECE Leaders

Systems Brief

Distributed Leadership Brief


University of Massachusetts Boston

JRA Consulting, Ltd.




Co-Principal Investigator: Kathryn Tout, Anne Douglass

Project Director: Tamara Halle

Deputy Project Director: Jennifer Cleveland

Case study lead: Diana Gal-Szabo

Landscape survey lead: Mallory Warner

Equity lead: Porsche Boddicker-Young

Other project staff: Alexandra Verhoye, Claire Vansell

Federal Project Officers: Ivelisse Martinez-Beck, Nina Philipsen, Paula Daneri, Sarah Blankenship

updated logos CCL project page

July 2022