Bridging Gaps and Nurturing Community through Early Learning in Philomath

Graphic announcing the new Early Link Podcast featuring early learning in Philomath.

by CI Communications




In this episode of the Early Link podcast, Rafael Otto joins Abby Couture and Sunny Bennett, the principal and preschool teacher at Clemens Primary School. Abby and Sunny discuss their stories of getting started in education as well as the moments they began to realize many children were missing out on early learning experiences. They go on to describe the educational environment in Philomath, where they partner with LBCC and Strengthening Rural Families to provide more opportunities for toddlers and pre-k students. Their preschool program incorporates a unique placement within the primary school, naturally connecting young students to their early elementary progression.

Abby and Sunny also share their positive experience as part of Children’s Institute’s Early Learning Academy, highlighting the inspiring sense of community, information sharing, and resource recommendations it provided. Participating in the academy empowered them and encouraged Philomath to engage community partners, improve practices, and foster connections among stakeholders. Sunny expressed how each meeting left her feeling empowered and ready to take on the next challenge, always leaving with a positive feeling. As Philomath’s early learning journey continues, the two dream of ensuring preschool access for all students in their community. They hope to create a supportive environment where families can thrive and stay connected from the earliest years onward.

More about The Early Link Podcast

The Early Link Podcast highlights national, regional, and local voices working in early childhood education and the nonprofit sector. The podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Rafael Otto, Children’s Institute’s director of communications.


Transcript coming soon. 


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