The Center on Early Learning

About Center on Early Learning

Mission Statement

Improve the quality of care and education available to all young children and their families in order to promote optimal development and full inclusion in their family, community and society through:

  1. Research, development and demonstration of effective practices and innovative models of care and education.
  2. Professional development, technical assistance and dissemination of effective practices and innovative models of service to practitioners in the fields of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.
  3. Systems change and policy development in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education that creates access to quality service and promotes positive outcomes for young children and families at the local, state and national level.

Our History Mirrors the History of TRI

The Research Institute (TRI- formerly Teaching Research), established in the early 1960s as a research and development arm of the Oregon University System’s (OUS) Chancellor’s Office, has historically followed a course congruent with state and national issues in education and human services. In 1989, TRI was transferred from the OUS to Western Oregon University (WOU) and has since become an integral part of the campus community.

Throughout its history TRI has been a facilitator of educational and human service improvement with a national reputation in the field of education. TRI has fostered close working relationships with many schools, districts and teacher education programs. Although its foundation was in educational research, teacher education and instructional technology, a focus on special education in the mid 1970’s led TRI to its continued national prominence in early childhood special education and services to students with deaf-blindness.


We promote practices that have a positive impact for young children and families. 

Our Center is dedicated to the development and dissemination of practices that enhance quality of life, maintain human dignity and are responsive to children and families goals.  To accomplish this we: 

  • obtain input from families at all levels of design and development of our projects.
  • promote models of service that are family centered and family guided. 
  • promote models of service that are responsive to the developmental needs of children and address the whole child including the social/cultural context in which children live.
  • promote models of service that emphasize the inclusion of children with disabilities in their natural least restrictive environment.
  • affirm diversity in all aspects of our work.
  • promote models of service that teach young children in their native language while providing instruction in English.

We use current and reliable research and literature to guide our activities.

Our Center is dedicated to the dissemination of practices that are empirically validated. We seek to:

  • promote practices that are historically and currently supported in the literature.
  • utilize all available empirically valid documentation in determining practices to be disseminated.
  • promote practices that have been used effectively in our own demonstration efforts.
  • promote practices supported by professional organizations within the respective field.

We use proven professional development practices and strategies in all dissemination and training activities.

Our Center is dedicated to utilizing proven practices and strategies in order to provide high quality professional development opportunities.  To accomplish this we:

  • provide training that goes beyond the acquisition of knowledge to the development of skills and change in values.
  • design training activities that are responsive to adult learner characteristics and  differing cultural backgrounds.
  • utilize the systematic approach to the development of training that is documented in the The Research Inservice Model (TRIM).
  • provide training in the native language of the participants.

We work together as a team utilizing each staff person’s expertise in process and content.

Our Center functions on a team model, which capitalizes on each staff member’s strengths and interests.  To accomplish this we:

  • meet regularly both formally and informally to discuss common issues, problem solve, report progress and provide professional support to one another.
  • support individual staff members to develop expertise within professional areas of interest common to the fields of early childhood and training.
  • use a consensus approach for making significant decisions effecting Center projects.
  • function in various roles across multiple projects determined by staff member’s interests, expertise, and/or project needs.

We strive to influence policy and practice in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

Our Center is dedicated to sharing knowledge, project findings and resources to influence policy and practice in the field.  To accomplish this we:

  • serve on national, regional and local groups.
  • are members of professional organizations.
  • publish in professional journals.
  • present at state and national conferences.

Meet the CEL Staff

Contact Us

Ph: 503-838-8785

Fax: 503-838-8150

The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 |