A child's first five years are critical to success in school and in life. The Oregon Community Foundation has made these crucial early years a major focus of its work for more than two decades, with the goal of making sure that all Oregon children arrive at school ready to learn.
The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative supports parents in their critical role as children's first and most important teachers by helping communities expand access to proven programs and build stronger, more coordinated parenting education services. More than 10,000 parents have participated in best practice parenting education programs since 2010. With foundation partners, OCF supports 15 regional parenting "Hubs" across Oregon.
Reach Out and Read: This national evidence-based program promotes child and family literacy during well-child checkups. The program trains medical providers to "prescribe" reading, singing and talking with young children, and every family receives an age-appropriate book during each well-child checkup. OCF supports Oregon's efforts to expand the model across the state.
To foster school readiness and ensure greater consistency in early childhood learning environments, OCF awarded grants to ten Oregon school districts that are implementing projects to build new connections with early childhood programs and families of young children. The goal is to improve outcomes for children by creating opportunities for the adults in their lives to work more closely together and to share knowledge of a child's strengths and challenges. [P-3 Alignment]
Betty Gray Scholarships
OCF believes every young child should have access to high quality child care and early learning programs, provided by a well-trained, valued workforce. Since 2003, with the launch of two scholarship programs named after Betty Gray, professional development of the early care and learning workforce has been one of the Early Childhood Program's main priorities. OCF assisted over 4,000 child care workers from 2003 to 2014 with the costs of education and training through scholarships at the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education. In addition, during the same time period, nearly 400 scholarship students achieved community college degrees or certificates in early childhood education through awards at nearly all community colleges in Oregon.