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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. 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 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 children attending Earl Boyles face multiple challenges related to the achievement gap, most notably poverty, language barriers, and a lack of high-quality early educational experiences.

The staff at Earl Boyles and David Douglas, led by Principal Ericka Guynes and Superintendent Ken Richardson, shows great strength and resourcefulness. Earl Boyles has demonstrated a strong approach to school behavioral management through programs such as Positive Behavior Supports. It is also a SUN Community School, offering after school programming, a food pantry and other services for families and children. Earl Boyles is an ideal home for the initiative, a place where motivation and collaboration are in place to address the challenges facing the community.

What's new at Earl Boyles?

Early Works has helped develop new opportunities at Earl Boyles including:

  • Public preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds
  • Neighborhood Center and Early Learning Wing
  • Lending library
  • Housing advocate who helps families access housing resources
  • Playgroups for parents with infants and toddlers
  • Parent-teacher home visits
  • Parent education and adult learning opportunities
  • Community health worker to connect children and families to health and community services

Want to see Early Works in action and visit our site at Earl Boyles? Click the button below to choose from a selection of available dates for 2017-2018.


For more information, please contact: Maya Crone, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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. The existing early learning programs have narrow eligibility requirements and limited reach, so it is easy for children and families in Yoncalla to fall through the cracks.

Several key players in the community are lending their support and enthusiasm to the implementation of Early Works at Yoncalla Elementary. These include Yoncalla School District Superintendent Brian Berry, teacher Jerry Fauci and several members of the Yoncalla School Board. Our partnership with Yoncalla Elementary School also includes the Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation. Early Childhood Development Program Officer Christy Cox is serving as a member of the leadership team.

Because Yoncalla is located in a rural area, it offers an opportunity for Early Works to compare and contrast the strategies needed to support learning there with those we are putting into practice at Earl Boyles, our urban site.

What's new at Yoncalla Elementary?

Early Works has supported a variety of activities and events for children and families, including:

  • Expanding public preschool for 4-year-olds and other early learning programming at Yoncalla Elementary
  • Parenting classes, kindergarten readiness workshops, and other family-friendly activities at the school and in the community
  • Hosting community events to get ideas from families about Early Works services
  • Piloting parent-teacher home visits for preschool through 6th grade families
  • Opening the parent lending library

For more information, please contact: Erin Helgren, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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