A Glimpse of How Yoncalla’s Youngest Learners Spend Their Day


by Celeste Yager-Kandle



We visited the Early Learning Center at Yoncalla Elementary on a warm, May morning to see how some of Yoncalla’s youngest learners spend their day. 

Located about 2.5 hours south of Portland, Yoncalla is a close-knit, rural community in Douglas County that sprawls away from the freeway for miles into the countryside. Yoncalla Elementary hosts grades PreK-6 and is one of two sites in Oregon that is part of the Early Works initiative—a partnership between the Ford Family Foundation, Yoncalla School District, and Children’s Institute.

In the entryway of the preschool, a large chalkboard displaying “Welcome to our Preschool Family!” in bold chalk letters, serves as a warm greeting.

Megan Barber reads the Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar to her preschool class. Just like thousands of children over multiple generations touched by Carle’s words and distinctive illustration, they were rapt!

The Yoncalla Early Learning Center’s outdoor space encourages students (and staff!) to be playful and creative. 


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