Forward Arrow Backward Arrow

About Us

What We Do

Mission and Values

The mission of Early Learning Division (ELD) is to support all of Oregon’s young children and families to learn and thrive. We value equity, making a positive impact for children and families, dedication, integrity and collective wisdom to benefit Oregon children and families.

We work as an integrated team focused on: Child Care, Early Learning Programs and Cross Systems Integration, Policy and Research, and Equity.


In 2011, Oregon Legislature approved a 40-40-20 goal and the Governor’s vision for a seamless education system from birth through college. To help achieve the goal, the Early Learning Council was created to advise on early learning polices and oversee the transformation of Oregon’s early learning system.

In 2013, the Early Learning Division was created and based in the Oregon Department of Education to direct early learning initiatives in the state. The Division consolidates a number of early learning services, including Oregon Prekindergarten, Healthy Families Oregon, and the Office of Child Care which were spread across several state agencies. All programs and units were put together to focus on the future of children.

Our Shared Vision

The units within the Division cocreated a shared vision in 2015 to guide and align our work.



At the Early Learning Division, we are preparing our children for Kindergarten, helping to create stable and attached families, and bringing services for children and families together statewide. Our programs range from Early Head Start, serving children three and under to Preschool Promise, servicing children at 200% of the poverty level. We work with families that may need a little extra help as they start their parenting journey and those families that may have particular needs. All this work strengthens our mission of supporting all of Oregon’s young children and families to learn and thrive. Our programs are a collective, responsible for positive outcomes for our children and closing the opportunity gap for those furthest from an opportunity. Click on the program names below to see more information:

Early Head Start

Head Start & Oregon Pre-K

Healthy Families Oregon

Preschool Promise


Relief Nurseries

Special Populations


Click below to search for early learning programs near you.

Equity Commitment

Our communities that are historically furthest from opportunity represent Oregon’s best opportunity to improve educational outcomes. African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native Americans, rural communities and families living in economic hardship are the focus of our work so children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. Strength-based approaches and asset-based mindsets will support our efforts to institutionalize equity and help all families thrive.

Our Division supports culturally responsive services – services that respond to the aspects of diverse communities – that are respectful of and relevant to the beliefs, practices, culture and linguistic needs of diverse populations and communities. To support children to learn and families to thrive, we support differentiated, family-centered resources and support. This work requires knowledge and capacity at different levels of intervention: systemic, organizational, professional and individual.

Early Learning is committed to providing all children and families spaces where they feel respected, valued and have the best opportunities to thrive.