Opportunity School serving Amarillo’s youth for more than 50 years

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Opportunity School first began as a Sunday school class at First Presbyterian Church downtown Amarillo. Now, more than 50 years later, the nonprofit is still serving our community, bringing child care and education to low-income families.

Executive Director Jill Goodrich explained, “There are so many great things about raising your family in Amarillo, but one of the challenges we have, is that there’s not enough high-quality child care for the families who are working, or in school, who need it the most.”

The school teaches young children, ages zero to five, using a two-generational approach. “What that means is, it’s all the good stuff we do for young children in the classroom, and coupled with how we include families in that work, and support families so that school and family are connected, and really help to serve the children,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich said these early years are crucial in a child’s development.

“You know 80 percent of our brains are wired by the time we reach 3 years old. And so while the lesson plans look a little different, even in our infant and toddler classrooms we have very specific things that the teachers work with children on every day that are developmentally appropriate for that age of child,” she said.

Each year, the school serves around 160 kids, with plans of expanding in the near future.

“One of the great things about opportunity school, and about the vision about where it started more than 50 years ago, is that it really was an idea ahead of its time. Even now, we’re developing the research that shows how important these early years are,” Goodrich added.

The nonprofit’s annual Valentine’s Day Cookie Sale is currently underway. To purchase two dozen cookies, and have them delivered to your loved one on February 14, click here: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/OpportunitySchool_1/valentinescookies.html

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