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Community Engagement

Our Approach

Guiding Principles

At the Early Learning Division, we are committed to supporting all of Oregon’s young children to learn and thrive. We strive to meet our mission by informing, listening and involving broad spectrum of stakeholders across the state to inform our decision making process. In collaboration with our community partners, we work to improve the early learning system by implementing programs and policies that are community-informed.

We firmly believe community engagement is critical for well-informed decisions in government.

Through thoughtful and inclusive planning, we ensure that the design, organization and convening process for engagement serves both a clearly defined purpose and the needs and interests of all participants.

We equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas and perspectives to lay the groundwork for feedback that can inform better decision-making and support efforts to institutionalize equity.

We support and encourage all Oregonians to work together in service of children, families and communities through community engagement.

We help each other to listen, foster mutual learning and engage in deep dialogue to explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes. We are flexible as new recommendations and solutions are generated.

We are clear and open about the process of community engagement and provide information that participants need to know in order to contribute in a meaningful way. We capture the range of views and ideas that come from engagement opportunities and communicate how feedback has been used to determine policies and practices.

We ensure each community engagement effort has real potential to make a difference. We want participants to know that their contributions will impact the direction and decisions of the Early Learning Division’s work.

We promote a culture of participation and support ongoing quality engagement for community-driven solutions. We also rigorously evaluate community engagement activities for effectiveness.

Download the ELD Principles of Community Engagement (PDF)


The Early Learning Division engages with a broad range of people across Oregon that want to participate in the co-creation of a family-centered early learning system.

Stakeholders are recognized as organized groups who have a specific stake in the Early Learning Council’s and Division’s decision-making process and who are affected by the Council’s and Division’s decisions.  Early Learning Hubs, Child Care Resource & Referrals, Healthy Families, Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, Relief Nurseries and community-based organizations are considered stakeholders. Stakeholders may also be individuals and groups, organizations or agencies who have a daily role to play in early learning policy development, program or service delivery.

Simply, the public is identified as families, child care providers, underserved communities and advocacy groups, are also considered stakeholders.


The format and level of engagement varies depending on the complexities of the program, project and initiative.  Stakeholder interest, legislative requirements, resources and monetary constraints are all taken into consideration.  The goal for every engagement is to be well planned, thoughtfully inclusion of people and diverse voices. To ensure this, the Early Learning Council’s and Division’ engagement process includes four stages:

  • design (developing an inclusive and equitable plan)
  • plan (preparing engagement)
  • engage (carrying out activities)
  • report (sharing feedback)

Download the Community Engagement Worksheet (PDF)

The three levels of engagement outlined below are also considered by the Council and Division when determining the overall best format for community engagement.

Inform Consult Collaborate
One way communication Two way communication Working together
Provide stakeholders and communities with information and assist them in the understanding changes about to take place or that has already happened. Obtain stakeholders and communities feedback to inform decision-making process and communicate how input influenced decision. Partner with stakeholder and communities to create solutions and incorporate their recommendations to the greatest extent possible into the decision.


The process of engagement is dynamic. While implementing engagement activities there are likely to be movement back and forth between levels of engagement, at times different levels may be combined for the most effective outcomes.