Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division featured Dr. Velvet Cooley, COO of Mid-Columbia Children’s Council, in an article on the benefits of outdoor learning. Children at MCCC’s Tygh Valley Head Start center have been primarily outdoors for the past two years and have excelled in this outdoor learning environment.

How To Make the Most of Summer for Early Learners – by Erin Zysett, Oregon Early Learning Division

“After two years of COVID-19 disruptions, this summer it may be more important than ever to explore the outdoors with young children.

Chief Operating Officer of the Mid-Columbia Children’s Council (MCCC) Dr. Velvet Cooley said spending more time outdoors is proven to have a calming effect and enhance mental health, even for young children.

Dr. Cooley said research supports how their Tygh Valley Head Start site is making a difference. Children in the program spend almost 100% of their school days outside. At the end of the spring 2020-21 year, the outdoor classroom had 80% of children meeting or exceeding expectations in literacy compared to the overall of 77% of children enrolled in MCCC. In math, 90% of the outdoor classroom children met or exceeded expectations, compared to 77% of the overall children enrolled.”

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