ELD Releases Interactive Data & Planning Tool

ELD Releases Interactive Data & Planning Tool

Oregon’s Early Learning Division has released the Early Learning Map for Oregon (ELMO), an interactive data and planning tool that can help schools, community and state agencies, Early Learning Hubs, advocacy groups, and other early learning partners to plan and improve upon early care and education in their region and across the state.

“This is an incredible resource that can support innovative and important cross-sector solutions for the early learning system’s most persistent challenges,” says Marina Merrill, director of research and evaluation at Children’s Institute. “The tool can help us look at access to quality and affordable child care; health and educational needs across communities; supporting the early learning workforce in effective ways; and addressing the needs of families who are facing multiple risk factors like poverty, unemployment, and lack of affordable housing.”

ELMO includes nearly 50 data indicators in the areas of community and family characteristics; early learning and child care program types, quality, and capacity; early learning workforce information; school readiness and success indicators; support services for families; and community risk and resiliency factors. In most cases, this data can be shown on the map at the county, Early Learning Hub, Child Care Resource & Referral district, school district, elementary school catchment area, zip code, and census tract level.

ELMO map showing numbers of children and early learning providers speaking a language other than English

This map of Oregon by county, created using ELMO, shows numbers of children and early childhood providers speaking a language other than English.

ELMO will be an invaluable tool, helping early learning advocates plan and learn by understanding strengths and needs across the state, but the ELD is clear that there are some things the tool was not designed to do. Since the datasets are only updated annually or as they become available, ELMO does not serve as a monitoring and accountability tool. It also cannot help families with things like finding open program slots or determining eligibility.

For more information and to try ELMO for yourself, you can access the tool directly through the Early Learning Division.


Child Care Crisis Central in National News

Child Care Crisis Central in National News

As the country limps into the twenty-first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, much national attention remains on our failing child care system, a system which is now widely recognized to be an essential piece of the country’s infrastructure — not only supporting healthy experiences during a child’s first years, but also allowing parents to return to work.

President Biden has shown commitment to supporting the system at the federal level, with robust investments in children and families showing up in every version of his proposed budget package. But despite the fact that the importance of early childhood has become a bipartisan value, legislation to fund child care and other family supports is at the center of national conversation as the budget bill struggles to pass.

We’ve rounded up some of the latest reporting on the child care crisis for you here.

U.S. Child Care System Presents Unique Difficulties

Parents and providers face systemic challenges to meet child care needs across the country. The following pieces discuss the history and culture that brought us to this moment, and outline the possible path forward.

Opinion: Why Is Raising a Child in the United States So Hard?

How Other Nations Pay for Child Care. The U.S. is an Outlier

Can We Fix America’s Child Care Crisis? States Implement Solutions to Avert Disaster

Federal Budget Proposal Responds to Crisis

Historic legislation at the federal level is on track to massively improve the experiences of children, their families, and their earliest educators. The movement is building to recognize child care as a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure! Read the pieces below for a good sense of what early childhood advocates are pleased to see in President Biden’s budget plan.

Exacerbated by Pandemic, Child Care Crisis Hampers Economy

Here’s What is in the $1.75 Trillion Biden Budget Plan

Childcare and Prekindergarten in The Build Back Better Act: A Guide for Policymakers

There is Still Work Ahead

These reforms are not a done deal. Support for early care and education is a broadly bipartisan priority, but this legislation is not happening in a political vacuum. These pieces give context to the current moment.

Crucial Elements of Spending Plan Remain in Flux After Biden’s Appeal to Democrats

Opinion: Biden’s Finishing what Obama Started with Early Learning

Democrats Want to Bolster Working Women, but Face Tortuous Choices

Stay Up to Date

Children’s Institute is glad to see the attention national media and policymakers are paying to the reforms and investments that will strengthen our nation’s child care and early education system, so that every parent is able to make the choices that best support their children’s healthy development. We will continue to connect our audience with the national conversation.

ESS Early Learning Academy: Supporting Transitions through an Anti-Bias Lens

ESS Early Learning Academy: Supporting Transitions through an Anti-Bias Lens

“I think we need to change our view of parents from being ‘extra work for teachers’ to ‘assets to the classroom community’,” said one attendee of last week’s Early Learning Academy, which brought together district teams from around the state to examine their back-to-school transition processes through the lenses of anti-bias and culturally responsive practice.

Another participant added, “Family engagement is not about what information the school can effectively deliver to families. It is about eliminating barriers so that schools can receive authentic information from families,” as a basis for co-constructing the best learning environment for every child.

The session opened with an introduction from Brian Berry, superintendent of Yoncalla School District, and Erin Helgren, the CI site liaison for Yoncalla Early Works, who spoke about the ways anti-bias practices have shaped the work they’ve done even in a rural, mostly white community. Truly, an anti-bias approach creates collaboration and partnership with families that leads to improved outcomes for every student and a stronger community for all, while also addressing systemic inequities head-on.

The session was keynoted by Dr. Tonia Durden and Dr. Iheoma Iruka, two of the authors of the book, Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms. They shared a wealth of information about the historical and systemic factors that have shaped schools’ interactions with racially and economically marginalized students and families, and highlighted meaningful shifts in classroom and school culture that allow students and parents to engage fully, so that every student is able to reach their potential.



Following the keynote, district teams participated in facilitated planning sessions, working together to apply their learning from the morning to back-to-school transition plans for the coming school year. This work will be ongoing, with districts receiving coaching from the Early School Success (ESS) team throughout the year.


Additional Resources

Professional Development Resource List Developed by Drs. Durden & Iruka

Links to Related Content

Podcast: Anti-Bias Education in Action

Podcast: Anti-Bias Education in Early Childhood

Podcast: Foregrounding Racial Equity in Early Childhood

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


ESS Early Learning Academy: School Transitions with an Anti-Bias Lens

ESS Early Learning Academy: School Transitions with an Anti-Bias Lens

As Oregon schools prepare to move into the fall of 2021, the Early School Success team at CI is planning its first ever Early Learning Academy, inviting district teams from around the state to examine educational transitions through an anti-bias lens, with a focus on the love and care that teachers, students, families, and entire school communities need as they continue to move through the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy will begin with a kick-off event on Wednesday, June 23, featuring keynotes from Dr. Iheoma Iruka and Dr. Tonia Durden, two authors of the book Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms. This event has recently been opened to the public! If you are interested in attending, you can register here by 4pm on Thursday, June 17, 2021.



We’re incredibly honored to welcome our keynote speakers.


Tonia Durden, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor and Birth-5 Program Coordinator within the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University. Dr. Durden’s primary scholarship and research trajectory focuses on support of African American children’s socio-cultural development. Her goal is to create racially equitable learning experiences for children of color. As a teacher educator and researcher, the focus of her work includes preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to become culturally competent master teachers. Dr. Durden’s professional work and scholarship can be categorized into three core areas of focus: Early Childhood Education (curriculum and program development); racial educational equity (research to professional practice); and Early Childhood Systems Engagement (strategic partnerships and equitable systems building). Dr. Durden is committed to using teacher education and research as an informative vehicle towards helping develop educators and leaders who become culturally responsive change agents and advocates in their classrooms and communities.  


Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham, Child Development Institute (FPG), and Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG (the Coalition) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Through the Coalition, Dr. Iruka is leading projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in the early years can support the optimal development and experiences of minoritized children and children from low-income households and communities. Her work focuses on ensuring that children start off well, through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. Dr. Iruka focuses on ensuring excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children and their families, through the intersection of anti-bias, anti-racist, culturally grounded research, program, and policy. Dr. Iruka serves and has served on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation, Trust for Learning, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees, the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs, and the Nation Advisory Committee for the U.S. Census Bureau.

She has a B.A. in Psychology from Temple University, an M.A. in Psychology from Boston University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, FL. 


Guests are able to register for the June 23 kick-off session. District teams who have committed to a deeper, long-term engagement with the material will receive coaching throughout the 2021-22 school year. 

Children’s Institute would like to thank the Ford Family Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation for making this event possible.


More From Dr. Iruka and Dr. Durden


Iheoma Iruka Strives to Make Racial Equity ‘the Air We Breathe’ at FPG

A Shield of Armor

Be Aware: Confronting My -isms

Be Intentional: Culturally Relevant Teaching — My Culture

Be Intentional: Culturally Relevant Teaching — My Beliefs

Be Intentional: Culturally Relevant Teaching — My Teaching

Dear CRT: Creating Culturally Relevant Classroom Environments

Dear CRT: Responsive Interactions

Video Series Highlights Importance of High-Quality Inclusion

Video Series Highlights Importance of High-Quality Inclusion

Despite ample research showing that high-quality inclusive settings support children’s learning and development, children with disabilities are still not reliably included in many preschool programs. In fact, there has been virtually no improvement in this area over the past forty years. Why aren’t we moving the needle?

Attitudes & Beliefs

The first video in a new series from STEMIE outlines the attitudes and beliefs that will move us toward progress. These include:

  • Optimism rather than pessimism about the capabilities of individuals with disabilities
  • A belief that everyone belongs, rather than reliance on policies that permit participation only when certain behavioral expectations are met (for example, “A child must be toilet trained, must be able to walk into the classroom on their own, or must be able to communicate verbally in order to participate in a preschool program.”)
  • An understanding that while high-quality inclusion is hard work, it is beneficial to everyone

Key Characteristics of High-Quality Inclusion

The second video in the series outlines the key characteristics of a high-quality inclusive education. These characteristics — which include the use of evidence-based practices, data-based decisionmaking, transdisciplinary service delivery, consistent environmental elements, and full utilization of peer influence — add up to a high-quality inclusive learning environment only when all are present. Without any one of them, the bar is not met.

Social Outcomes of Inclusion

Children who have a friend at ages three, four, and five are on a totally different developmental path than children who do not have a friend at those ages. The final video in this series discusses the social outcomes associated with participation in high-quality inclusive early learning.

Benefits to both typically developing children and children with disabilities include improved communication, cognitive, and academic skills, as well as reductions in challenging behaviors. For children with disabilities, early friendships are linked to better high school graduation rates, the need for fewer special education services, and increased longevity. And unsurprisingly, typically developing children who participate in high-quality inclusive programs develop more accepting attitudes toward individuals with differences, leading to a lasting potential social impact in all our communities.

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