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Do you love your preschool?

I've heard from a few mamas recently are looking for preschools in coming months.  In the name of sharing and making connections, we want to hear from you!  Does your child attend a preschool you absolutely love?  Share, share, share!

Helpful info to provide includes:
- General Area (N/NE, SE, SW, NW) and Neighborhood
- PT or FT?
- Approach to play and learning
- any and all of your first-hand experience with teachers, other parents at the school, and other anecdotes.


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My DS Ben goes to West Hills Learning Center 3 days a week. This facility is in the SW area. He really likes it there. On the days that he is home with me, he actually whines to go to school!

They have Spanish and music instructors that come in during the week, and Ben has recently even started to count in Spanish which made my jaw drop!

During the regular work week, they create fun exercises to help the children learn their letters and numbers.

Emma goes to Growing Seeds in NE Portland (41st and Tillamook, across from the Hollywood library). I don't have a lot of experience with other preschools (we visited one before deciding on this one), but it's great and she loves it so it seems like a good fit for us. Sometimes I think about changing to a language immersion school though.

They do full time or part time, but no half-days.

They use several approahces: Constructivism, The Project Approach (a.k.a. Reggio-Emilia), RIE and some Waldorf, but there is not a lot of the Waldorf-style nature celebrations. All the toys are wooden or natural though. You won't find any Barney or Disney stuff here.

They just opened in the summer but the directors are veteran child care providers. There are supposed to be field trips to things like farms, etc. They go to the library and the park a lot. They also have a very nice play area and will be planting a garden in the spring.

They provide organic milk and snacks. You have to provide breakfast (if necessary) and lunch.

They accept all ages, with seperate rooms for each stage, such as babies, walkers, toddlers, preschoolers. Kids don't have to be potty trained. They'll put them in cloth diapers while they are there.

It's a little on the expensive side, but they say they pay the teachers well so there isn't much turnover. The teachers DO seem happy and they really love the kids.

I just stumbled on your website after recieving my Portland Picks last Friday. What a fantastic resource. I have been passing the link on to other close friends. I just wanted to mention the preschool opening at Richmond Japanese Magnet program in SE Portland. The program, which has been in exisitence since 1989, is expanding to include a preschool for 3 and 4 year olds. If you would like more information there website is

My sons are enrolled in the 3rd and 1st grade and there experience at this school has been incredible. I am looking forward to enrolling my 2 year old when he comes of age. The deadline for registering corresponds with the public school which I think is March 24. Good luck with the preschool search.

Luke has been at Rainbow Preschool for a month and loves it. He was at a Waldorf preschool for a month before and it didn't seem like a good fit. We got a call that Rainbow had an opening and it's only a few blocks from our house. 1244 NE 39th Laurelhurst/Hollywood - 503.284.1739. 14 kids/2 teachers, need to be potty trained, ages 3-5, 9-1 monday - thursday. 10 of the 14 will be going to kindergarten, so there will be alot of openings in the fall. At a Lutheran church, but not affiliated. I'm not sure what the style (?) would be classified as, but the kids go on field trips to central library and a nursing home (they take max and have parent helpers on those days), they just finished learning about Matisse - reading, doing collages with paper cutouts, etc., sing songs, help prepare snacks, storytime - seems more mainstream than the Waldorf school, but the no commercial toys or videos. they're in the process of putting together a website, so call for more info.

I am trying to find a good, academic preschool for my 3 year old son...to start in the fall. The issue I'm having is that he has severe food allergies and would need a shot of epinephrine should he accidently ingest peanuts/tree nuts/dairy/soy or eggs. I've been told by some that they are not licensed to give the shot...even though I believe (still researching) that under various state laws a teacher can give the shot if it's an emergency. Anyway, it is becoming very discouraging and I'm thinking home school might be our best option. If you are reading this and know of a place where they are prepared and/or WILLING to do what it takes to keep a child with food allergies safe...please let me know! Thank you!

We just recently moved here from Miami and have never had a nanny before. Does anyone know of a great nanny for full-time (not live-in) that is available, or even part-time really? We need someone and don't know anyone here in Portland to make recommendations. Maybe one of you moms has a nanny that you won't be needing any longer?
Please let me know.

I can't say enough good stuff about the ECLC that is now a part of PJA (Portland Jewish Academy). Starts at 2 with top notch staff. My son has been there for 3 years and it has been a dream. Not all the kids are Jewish and it is open to everyone. The kids have dance, gym class, music lessons and a huge covered outdoor play area. The staff is loving and astute.

We have a wonderful nanny that use to work for us that is now looking for work. She speaks predominately Spanish but does understand/speak some English. She is a kind and nurturing woman who loves kids. Email if you would like more information.

Apple Blossom Nusery School

My daughter started recently at Apple blossom and she absolutely loves it. My closest friend's daughter has been going there for 2 years and she recommended it very highly to me when I moved back to Portland. It is located in the close-in southeast, 34th and Main. The school is Waldorf based, all of the toys are natural and they base everything around a daily rhythm, which seems to help the children thrive. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. They take children ages 2-kindergarten for full or part-time, full or half days, in diapers or potty-trained. The average child/teacher ratio is 14/2, but there always seem to be more teachers floating around. They are all wonderful and we've absolutely loved our experience there.

After visiting a few Spanish Schools in Portland, I was very convinced about sending my kids to Eduplin Spanish Christian School in NW Portland. My kids have been there for 2 years and they are completely bilingual now. They focus a lot on academics. Their curriculum is excellent! Eduplin has a loving, fun and safe environment. They take kids from 18 months to 5 years old. The kids don't need to be potty trainned. I am very happy with the way the teachers teach and love my children.

We are relocating to NW PDX this August and I'm looking for a good preschool for my 4 year old daughter. I've heard some good things about the Tigard Playschool Co-op and am planning to make a visit soon. Does anyone have any thoughts/comments on this school or suggestions of other schools to consider? Thanks!

Hi, I am looking for a pre-school for my 3yr old little girl. I am so tense about picking the right one. We just moved to North/NE Portland. My daughter is very focused and kind and I want the best learning/active/caring environment for her possible. Any suggestions?? Thanks :) Jennifer

Jennifer: I just enrolled my 3-yr-old daughter at Growing Seeds North on MLK and she LOVES it so far. Every morning when we drive up, she throws her hands up in the air and screams, "YAY! My new school!" The teachers there are plentiful and kind, the food is organic and nutritious, and they have great indoor and outdoor spaces for learning and play. We were on the wait list for a couple of months before we secured a spot, so fair warning. Best of luck in your search!

My daughter's preschool, Hummingbird School, in NE Portland has an opening for fall. We have been so happy with the school and teachers. It's a very special place.

My child attends Creative Minds Learning Center. They have a web site which is very informative: http://www.creativemindslearningcenter.com
We love them...we heard of them through a referral!

We are relocating to Portland in April. I am searching for a pre-school for my soon to be 4 yr old son. Both parents work so we'll need a school that accepts a child other times than the fall. Any ideas?


Heidi do you know what part of town you'll be living in?

I have to warn VERY strongly against Apple Blossom. Email me privately at smacblog at gmail dot com if you have questions.

How can you be reached by e-mail?

i found this thread in searching the old posts... i'm stuck without many affordable choices, i'm afraid. we live in north and i'm convinced that there has to be a rockin' preschool in my area that isn't going to cost as much as our monthly food bill. i just want a couple of mornings a week. we love the waldorf concept, but it seems like they're the most expensive. ideas or recommendations?? i'm starting to feel the crunch.

Nicole H.:

Hello my son goes to Knowledge Beginnings (Kindercare is under the same parent company but I dont know anything about KC centers) We have a little girl in my sons class with several allergies and I have been in the classroom and witnessed the teachers being very thorough in confirming what she could/could not eat before a child brought in cupcakes for a birthday celebration.

My son is on an inhaler and has some respiratory issues. They are fine with giving him his inhaler. And they are very specific about being a no-peanut facility.

I dont see many posts about larger, more corporate centers but I am very happy with my sons center. He has been there 4 years.

I'd be happy to share any thoughts offline if you would like.


Help! I'm in the preschool conundrum like everyone else. My 2 1/2 year old is very advanced and I need a challenging preschool for her. I'm liking the Reggio Emilia concept. Not too hot on Montessori. Any suggestions?

I found a GREAT pre-school in NE POrtland--Concordia area. 5 days a week, half-days. ONLY $160 per month! It is St. Michael's Lutheran Chirch Preschool. Call Sharon at 503-282-0000. Teacher has Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education.

We LOVE Metrokids in the Metro building by the Convention Center. This is part of the Joyful Noise locally owned schools. I don't think they advertise much, we heard about them through a referral even though we're Portlanders. Our son has been going there for 1 year and it has been a wonderfully nurturing environment where he has grown social/emotionally.
What we love:
- Vygotsky/Piaget/ Constructivist framework (they also use the Reggio method of building on children's interests to guide their learning and explorations and photo/dictations to capture student experiences)
- intentional, well-informed, diversely educated teachers
- thoughtful anti-bias/multicultural integrated teaching
- infants-preschoolers enjoy ample outside time in a beautiful outdoor play area immediately accessible from classrooms (garden, sensory tables, climbing dome, bikes, sandbox, wood house, lots of trees and plants.)
- nut free school
- kids are not required to be toilet trained, and are open to supporting families in whatever method
- lunch is healthful, local, cooked in their on site kitchen
- I also love how the teachers work 4 days/week and there is a constant assistant so that when you drop off your child, you can connect with at least 1 person who has been there directly all day with your child and learning about their day first hand.
- they offer other classes families can join for an extra fee (Spanish, movement, tot theater) and do walking field trips to: local outdoor market, concerts in the park

Open Minds Preschool has space for another girl (age 3-4) this fall, 2 days a week. We are a vegetarian school in a residential setting (NE Alameda/Irvington/Sabin area). www.openmindspreschool.com

Cathedral Park Cooperative Preschool has openings in our 4 year old class this fall. The program runs Mon/Wed/Fri from 9:00-11:30. A co-op is a great way to be involved in your child's preschool experience! www.cathedralparkpreschool.org

Apple Blossom is another perfect resource. We have been in business for 5 years now & I have over 20 years teaching experience. We take children at my daycare from infant to age 5 & my preschool age 2.5 up to age 6. It is rare we have an opening at the preschool, but we now have a couple, due to many graduating onto kindergarten.
Apple Blossom Nursery School
Fall Openings!

• We are state registered & certified & a “Green” Daycare (no pesticides, harmful, chemicals or cleaners, & use only organic food).
• We are a Waldorf inspired preschool & have trained & certified teachers on staff
• We are a media free space with only Mother Nature as our greatest source of inspiration & your child's natural curiosity. Your child will be surrounded by natural beauty, gentle hands, warm hearts & soothing daily rhythm.
• We have a registered dietitian on staff, with over 11 years of experience, to help in creating the most healthy & delicious meals offered anywhere!
• We will sing, play, & explore each day.
• The surroundings are inspiring & open ended with toys like, silks, wooden toys felted animals, & home made toys.
• We will bake, clean, garden & play our day away! We will go outside (rain or shine) daily as well.
• We provide the most nutritious & organic foods only! We cook snacks & lunch each day.
• We will also lovingly potty train your child when they are ready.
• We are enrolling right now & for the summer & fall. Your child must be 3 by mid August.
• I have been in business 5 year’s & have over 20 years teaching experience!
Please email Carrie at her email address below & check out her web site. Its takes a few moments to load, so be patient.

Hi my name is Julia. Our 4 year old son goes to a wonderful home based school near Mt. Tabor called Flowerdrum Preschool. It is based on a curriculum called "tools of the mind", a deliberate play style of learning. Without reading the literature on it it is hard to explain. The time frame is 9-2:30, very reasonably priced and wonderful teachers. The maximum number of students is 6 per day. Their website is a bit difficult to access, at least it was for me, email me if you need a number to contact.

A Child's Way over in far NW Portland (near Cedar Mill Library) has been our home for 2 kids and 4 years. We've been very happy there. They are play based, 2's to K, part time. Excellent teachers. Just a warm and caring environment.


The website is not that impressive, but their school is.

Hi. I don't know if folks are still reading this... the post is quite old. However, I run a small in-home preschool with a focus on the arts. And I have a couple of openings for fall 2010. We draw, paint, dance, do yoga, make music, and more. We are located close-in N.E. one block from Oregon Park. Please call for rates, references, or more information. Thanks, Alison Weaver 971-322-3271
( or email at meadowlarkpreschool@hotmail.com)

I see that this was originally an old post, but since it has a couple of recent comments, I'd like to make a pitch for our son's preschool in case there are mamas looking up old posts.

My almost 3 year old has attended Mountain Park Playschool in Lake Oswego since last September; the Playschool is located at 2 Mt. Jefferson Terrace, about 5 minutes from the Portland Community College's Sylvania campus. You don't have to be a member of the Mountain Park homeowners association to enroll your child in the Playschool; we live in SW Portland, just north of Mountain Park. Kids range from 2 to pre-K. The school claims to follow the Reggio Emilia instruction philosophy, but I must admit I don't really know enough about this approach to understand if it is truly applied. I just know that the teachers are mature and loving, the kids experience a wide range of activities throughout the day, and my son always tell me he had a great day at the end of the day (and it usually takes about 10 minutes to get him to leave the place).

When we moved to the area last summer, we visited several places, observed the kids, talked to the teachers, and both DH and I ranked Playschool as our top choice. The school is located in a residential area; it has a really extensive playground area surrounded by greenery. (Two other schools we visited had chain linked fences and were located right off busy roads. The environment just feels really different.) The teachers are long time mature employees, unlike a few other places we visited where high turnover or very young teachers seem to be the norm.

One thing that we considered when looking at preschools was the school's use of computers. The Playschool has a couple of computer terminals donated to the pre-K class and the kids get very limited supervised use of those computers on occasion. (We visited two other preschools that had computer terminals in the 2s and 3 year old classes as well, and we were told the kids have computer play time as part of their free choice every day. Such early and extensive exposure to computer play (and TV) just doesn't fit with our child-rearing philosophy.)

Cami, the Director, is terrific. We have dropped our son off at various times during the day -- from before 9 am to after 11 am -- and picked him up at various times in the afternoon -- from around 3 pm to 6 pm; so we've had the opportunity to observe the staff and kids in a wide range of periods. My son has also spent time with all the teachers since enrolling. I really think everyone there is wonderful.

The school staff had no previous experience with cloth diapers, but Cami was not even hesitant about having the teachers learn to use cloth when I asked if they would be willing to change cloth; I used the pocket diapers for daycare to make it easier on the teachers.

They were really flexible about the start of enrollment, and we were able to visit and hang out several days over a week's time to get my son acclimated before officially enrolling him.

If the location is convenient, I really recommend a visit to the Playschool for all parents shopping around for preschools.

hi urbanmamas: i am moving with my family in June and I can’t seem to find a central repository of information that lists daycares by location, ages accepted, times, cost, etc.  We have a similar guide where i live now and it is enormously helpful so I was wondering if something like that might exist for Portland.  I am looking for daycare in the NE (ideally near the Alameda/Sabin/Irvington area or somewhere convenient to those neighborhoods). We need full-time care for my 2 year old daughter and almost 4 year old son. I would love to find an eco-friendly/organic place if I can, but hours and convenience are key. If you have recommendations for elementary schools, I would be interested to hear those as well since we haven't bought a house yet and that will be a determining factor on where we land. I welcome any other advice you think would be helpful as well (pediatricians, OB's, dentists, etc.). 


My 2.5 yr old son's pediatrician, Dr. Megan Neuman is awesome! She is the medical director of Emanuel's peds clinic across the street from the hospital. It's centrally located in NE, easy to get to, parking free underneath the building & most importantly the care there is excellent! From the sweet Melissa at the front desk, to one of the nicest RN's, Debbie, this busy clinic rocks! Dr. Neuman really listens & works with you... She is open to questions, does not treat you as if you aren't your child's best advocate, & gives solid info/advice without being pushy. She was willing to discuss & implement an alternative vaccination schedule, use of alternatives to cow milk, along with her recommendations (such as what vaccinations she feels are higher priority vs. ones that aren't "absolutely" necessary) to providing more info for one to do further research (she recommended I check out CHOP's website (children's hospital of philadelphia) for vaccination findings, research & studies info... She is always keeping up with newest info & education which to me is important in pediatrics. Anyway, go ahead call now to schedule a meet appt (she gets scheduled up quickly) 503 413 2092
This is not your fancy private practice pediatrician's office though but if you want a great peds clinic attached to one of the two trauma level one providers here in portland, this is it! You can tell them I referred you! Good luck in your search!

Commenting on Gmoms post and Metrokids preschool. Good teachers, and open to parents coming into classroom which I loved. But the food, no it is not healthfull. The menu looks healthy but go back into te kitchen and actually read the ingredients! Lots of high fructose corn syrup, canned fruits and additives. That's why I took my child out! It was a bummer because we liked the school for so many other reasons but we were brining in every meal from home for him to eat because the food was so shi!!y....

are there FREE preschools and if so, is the class room education good as the preschool that NOT FREE?

Emma, there are no "free" preschools that I'm aware of, I believe even the very part time, volunteer staffed programs in churches still charge some sort of tuition. There are co-op programs, but I don't know that those are actually free.

The only free programs are Headstart and Early Headstart and you have to fit very strict economic guidelines AND be willing to accept a certain amount of intrusion (home visits, etc)in your family life. Additionally, with the sequester, there are sadly, fewer slots available. To give you a sense of how strict the Max income for a family of four is $23,550.

If finances are an issue, DHS does subsidize lower income families, as well. Additionally, many private centers will offer partial scholarship funds.

But again, by lower income, DHS means below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (roughly $43K for a family of 4) and even then it isn't full payment, just partial assistance. And your family also requires childcare to remain employed (so if one spouse makes $40K and the other doesn't work, they won't qualify).

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