OCDC has an open board member position! Check out the Leadership page in the About Us section for more information! ¡OCDC tiene un puesto vacante de miembro de la Mesa Directiva! ¡Vaya a la página de Liderazgo en la sección Acerca de Nosotros para obtener más información!

Why We Do It

The Needs of Oregon’s Communities and Families

OCDC’s programs are grounded in the needs of our families and communities. Because we serve farm workers and agricultural parts of Oregon, our schools are in rural areas where services and infrastructure are not robust.

Our programs – the quality of education, the comprehensive nature of our family services, and the collaboration with other community organizations – are tailored to this context where we can do the most for children and families.

Alma’s Story: Growing with OCDC

Important Facts, Figures, and Information

  • 14% of Oregon households are living at or below the federal poverty level (FPL)
  • 44% of Oregon households are in financial hardship, meaning making more than the FPL but still unable to cover the basic costs of living.
  • Every county in Oregon is a childcare desert and availability has become scarcer during the pandemic. A childcare desert is a community with 3 or more children for a single childcare slot.
  • In Oregon, there are 3 preschool age children for every single preschool childcare slot.
  • In Oregon, there are 7 infants and toddlers for every single infant and toddler childcare slot.
  • 92% of children between the ages of 0-2 do not have access to a regulated childcare slot.
  • 76% of children between the ages of 3-5 do not have access to a regulated childcare slot.
  • 23% of Oregon young children live in rural communities, 36% are children of color, and 36% of children with employed parents live in single employed parent families.

There are more children than there are available childcare slots. To make matters worse, available childcare spots are cost prohibitive or inaccessible due to income despite inability to afford basic costs of living. Other characteristics that limit accessibility to available childcare are rural geography, being an infant/toddler, being a person of color, and living in limited English proficiency household. A continuing yet significantly worse issue caused by the pandemic is staffing shortages.

What Research Tells Us

Early Brain Development

Approximately 92% of lifelong brain development happens between birth and age 5. Research shows that early experiences influence the physical architecture of the brain. We have a responsibility to expose young children to stimulating, caring, and engaging environments – this helps maximize the development.

Children Learn Through Play and Exploration

Since the early 1900s, we have known that children learn by playing and exploring their environment. When we build a classroom, it is filled with fun books, toys, manipulatives, and other stimuli that children enjoy.

Julio’s Story: The Impact of OCDC

Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities and Delays

Research tells us that the earlier the intervention, the more effective it can be – particularly children with developmental delays in areas like speech and language. If we can help these kids catch up developmentally, we can change their academic trajectory for their entire lives.

Dual Language

Research tells us that bilingual infants’ brains are more sensitive to learning for a longer period of time. Our classrooms are dual language, with teachers speaking both English and Spanish, because it is the most effective way for children to build pre-language and language skills.

Positive Emotional Relationships & Mental Health Support

Helping children build social-emotional skills is crucial for the development of the whole child. The early years help children build important relationships with parents, peers, adults, and more.

Our teachers use positive behavioral interventions, and we engage mental health support when our families need them. Staff and families have ongoing opportunities to connect, consult, and partner with OCDC’s Regional Mental Health Consultants and Mental Health Consultants to enhance their capacity to provide social-emotional well-being support for their families. OCDC has adopted the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children framework. The Pyramid Model is a conceptual framework of evidence-based practices for promoting young children’s healthy social and emotional development.

Sherri’s Story- Teaching at OCDC