Early Works

Early Works: Prenatal to 3rd Grade Learning Laboratories

Early Works, a 10-year Children’s Institute initiative, was launched in two Oregon communities to demonstrate a new approach to education and healthy development for young children and their families. The approach is driven by parents, educators, and partners in the community and grounded in what research has shown children and families need to thrive.

Prenatal to 3rd Grade Learning

Children’s Institute, Mt. Hood Community College Head Start, the Multnomah Early Childhood Program and the David Douglas School District initially launched Early works in 2010 at Earl Boyles Elementary School in Southeast Portland. Two years later, the Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation and the Children’s Institute partnered with the Yoncalla School District to launch a rural Early Works site at Yoncalla Elementary in Douglas County.

These two sites continue to evolve and serve as learning laboratories for school districts, educators, policymakers, parents and families, and communities working to strengthen early learning and set them on the path to third grade success.

Earl Boyles Elementary

Earl Boyles Elementary School

Earl Boyles Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood, all within the David Douglas School District, became the first site of our community-centered initiative in 2010. The school serves a culturally and linguistically diverse group of low-income families. Through our comprehensive, community-based Early Works initiative, Earl Boyles now offers high-quality preschool, an Early Kindergarten Transition program, summer literacy programs, infant-toddler play and learn groups, a food pantry, and connections to housing and health care supports.

Yoncalla Elementary School

Yoncalla Elementary School is located in Douglas County’s rural Yoncalla, Oregon. Two preschool classrooms now serve all eligible 3 and 4-year-olds in the district, parents and families are engaged in decision making, and student achievement continues to climb.

Yoncalla Elementary
Yoncalla Elementary

Yoncalla Elementary School

Yoncalla Elementary School is located in Douglas County’s rural Yoncalla, Oregon. Families living in Yoncalla face many challenges, including high unemployment and poverty rates and a shortage of livable-wage jobs and health care. Test scores show that 80 percent of the district’s kindergarteners score below or well below entry level benchmarks, and only 41 percent of the district’s graduates pursue higher education.

Early Works Evaluation

Working with Portland State University, we conduct an annual evaluation of the Early Works initiative. The initiative works to implement an integrated set of policies and services in early learning, health and family engagement and brings together various partners working on behalf of children and families. The goal is to create a seamless system that supports children in their critical years from birth through third grade.

Our first report on the progress that children and families are making at the Early Works sites was released in January 2016. The report shows some areas of challenge, but also areas of real progress for children and families in both the Earl Boyles and Yoncalla communities. Click here to read and download the report.

For more detail, read the Earl Boyles and Yoncalla evaluation reports from Portland State University.

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