70 posts categorized "Preschools"

School's Out For Summer!

June 14, 2011

Urbanmamas_everett_playground_joy
The countdown began a couple of weeks ago, when my six-year-old was moping about each morning, telling me, "I'm sick!" when he was only, variously, tired, cranky, or wishing he could stay home and play with his little brother. "Only 14 more days of school," I'd say, "you can make it!"

Today, with the retirement of a beloved kindergarten teacher approaching and the skittering knowledge that going back to Bridger is an impractical choice that would likely result in ill attention for my rising first-grader's rising needs -- he's been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, something that just can't be supported in a neighborhood classroom of 38 first-graders, and now that his big brother isn't going to the school, he no longer gets the "tagalong" status allowing a school bus to take him the 3.5 miles from our house -- I'm saying so long to a school community I'd really grown to love. There are too many people to whom to say goodbye.

I'm not the only one among the urbanMamas who is saying goodbye. I'll let Olivia tell her own story, but her Facebook status last night about an exchange with her graduating oldest daughter had tears in many of our eyes. There are littler goodbyes -- preschool graduations, neighborhood moves, and the like. I chatted yesterday with a life-changing therapist, one who'd worked with Everett in an unusually empathetic and knowing way. All of the mental health professionals -- all of them, except for one school psychologist assigned to each school (often on a half-time basis) -- are losing their jobs. Those with seniority will be re-assigned, maybe as school counsellors. The special ed director has decided that children's mental health shouldn't be supported by schools. (More about this later.)

It's a sparkling, celebratory time for many children, but even those like Truman who spent considerable energy trying to stay home will miss the friends and teachers they loved. A bittersweet time of release from schedules and change in environment. A hope for warm sidewalks and bare feet and ripe strawberries from the garden. The feeling is in the air and in the skips of students through the streets.

How are you feeling as school gets out? What are your happies and sads? To whom are you saying goodbye this June?

Lunch-Pooling: Making Friends and Swapping Muffins

September 30, 2010

My neighbor Camellia posted on Facebook about her lunch pool -- something I fell in love with briefly once years ago but never executed. When she offered to write a post about her new experiences, I said, "yes!"

Camellia_lunch_pool
I was nervous about my almost-Three starting Montessori school. I was worried about him adjusting, about drop-off, and about…it seems silly, but packing lunches. After reading the recent posts about kids leaving their lunches uneaten and Sunday night insanity I was nervous about being prepared each morning with balanced, nutritious lunches he would actually eat. Even at home, I don’t feel like we always do a very good job of coming up with good little guy meals day after day. We fall back on quesadillas and Cheerios far more often that I’d like.

A woman overheard me discussing the topic at the gym and approached me with a suggestion: lunch-pooling. You find a parent in your kid’s class with compatible lunch-styles and take turns making lunch for both kids, one week on, one week off.

I love it. It’s actually easier to pack two lunches because you can use up your ingredients faster, packing fresher lunches with more variety. I feel like the challenge of coming up with a week’s lunches is much more manageable than the prospect of packing lunches every day. And so far, the kids are eating nearly everything! My kid actually eats better than he does at home, because I have to plan better, and he has to eat what he gets instead of demanding Cheerios. Arranging it in a cute little box helps, too.

Of course, the challenge is finding a friend who eats more or less the same stuff your kid eats. This could be harder if your kid has dietary issues. But even if you don’t find a lunchbox buddy right off the bat, there are other ways to lunch pool. Even if your friends’ kids go to different schools, you can swap home-made lunchbox staples for the freezer. Mini-muffins, meatballs, soups, and pot-stickers are a few our kids like.

In general, I love the ideal of “pooling,” be it transportation, lunches, or what-have-you… I love that the same effort goes twice as far, and it’s more fun, too. As the old saying goes, many hands make work light. I have friends who even pool soup dinners through their kids’ classroom: several families rotate cooking duty on Soup Night, making a savory soup that’s substantial enough for a meal with salad and bread. They exchange soups at school when they pick up their kids. I’m also part of a carpool for picking up our raw milk and fresh eggs from the farm. What do you pool? What are the pros and cons? And what are your favorite freezable lunchbox staples?

Preschools, like Puddletown, often looking for a home

June 30, 2010

Puddletown_school
A preschool needs a home.

Several friends in my neighborhood have children at Puddletown School; one of the teachers there came to dinner at my house a few weeks ago as part of the Village Building Convergence. Through them, I know it to be a jewel of a Montessori school. Like many preschools, it's been shuttled from church to used-to-be-a-church to senior center through its life, never quite comfortable and permanent. I, too, have worked to find a space for a child's playspace, and I empathize with the community's struggle. I so wish it was easier to find spaces for preschools, who need safe, clean ground floor locations; several rooms; close and easy access to bathrooms; and a nearby outdoor space for active play.

Even through the economy's downturn, though, the sort of real estate appropriate for preschools is expensive and often requires difficult upgrades. Preschools operating in a home's large daylight basement, or ground floor, have it easier, as they need not rely on a landlord's good graces; they do require special approval and licensing, however, which takes precious time.

In this case, as seems to be the concern so frequently, Puddletown is losing its lease because its landlord, the Holgate Center at SE 32nd and Holgate, is using the space for other things. Now, with new families signed up for fall and the older children eager to get back to their teachers, the school is adrift without options. Do you have ideas? Has your preschool been through a similar upheaval? What advice do you have for these families?

Continue reading "Preschools, like Puddletown, often looking for a home" »

Preschool: How much is too little?

January 28, 2010

Preschool_art
As Truman is heading to kindergarten next year, he's going to be ending his preschool journey in June. He's in an MESD program at Grout, meant to provide an opportunity for children qualifying for early intervention to learn alongside "peers," kids who don't qualify but love the $5-per-session (and less for those on low incomes) rates. It's lovely: close to home, with caring teachers, FREE. But it's on a two-hours-and-twenty-five minutes timetable, three days a week. Just barely enough to give him a chance to learn a little bit about letters and numbers and seasons and how important it is to follow rules about cleanup and sharing: not enough to give me a chance to actually get anything done in the meantime.

Typically, I treasure the days, like today, that he's off school; in order to get him in the door at 11:50, I'm feeding him a snack at 11 and doing the get-ready dance for him and Monroe for the next 20 or 30 minutes. By 1:45 I'm looking at my watch every two minutes, interrupting any train of thought I'd been able to establish what with Monroe, longing for the human interaction he craves, holding his hands on either side of my face asking me to look at something -- his nose, a Pokemon card, a Hot Wheels race car.

As Monroe will be three this summer, when his big brother is heading for kindergarten I'll be left to decide whether to put him in preschool. I definitely don't have room in my budget for any longer, less public school-y preschool program; it's the MESD seven or eight hours a week, or nothing. Today, loving the flexibility of my time and the space I have to let my trains of thought play all the way out before I interrupt them for snacks and bike rides, I'm leaning toward foregoing preschool altogether for my third kid.

But... Truman's definitely benefited; he really needed the "discipline," if you can call it that, preschool provides; the structure is something he craves and I'm not great at affording; the social opportunities are hard to live without. Life without preschool for my youngest would require at least a little investment in playdates and a mama who could promise herself to dedicate a little time each day to crafts and books. (I love them. I just don't always manage to fit them into writing-housework-bills-errands-bread baking-chicken feeding-etc.)

What do you all think: how much preschool is too little? Have any of you let preschool be when faced with such a decision (and only one child still at home)? How much "curriculum" (hah) do you do? Crafts and books and seasons, oh my? Do you paint with your young child? Schedule many playdates? I'd love to hear how you've organized your life around preschool, if you too have decided "that much is not enough."

the last-minute mama: It's teacher gift time!

December 17, 2009

Thank goodness for Asha of Parenthacks, who tweeted about 45 minutes before I was due to pick Truman up from his last day of preschool before the break. She was making this chai concentrate from the Oregonian (lots of good homemade food gift ideas in this series, too) for her kids' teachers. Forty-one minutes later, I'd decided upon some of my fanciest jars of homemade preserves and decorative doohickeys to cover the lids, and off I went. But now I must get together gifts for Everett's teachers to avoid (I type only 16-some hours before his bus picks him up) the last minute.

Truman_preschool_teachers_gifts
Last year I had it really together, and purchased farmer's market tokens the Saturday prior to the last week of school. Smart hmm? I even made sweet little notes mentioning our favorite vendors and pointing out that the last farmer's market of the season would be the Saturday after school got out. Though I still think that this is a great idea (more on that later), not only did my gifts almost not get given due to snowed-out school, the last market day of the year was so cold Portland Farmer's Market canceled. Sure, the tokens were good in the spring, but who knows if the teachers remembered where they put them.

While most of we urbanMamas founders had little ones in daycare, we chatted about gifts for daycare providers. Among the comments there was a link to this post about teacher gifts; throughout all these I found many good ideas and themes. Here are some of the most commonly-mentioned ones:

  • Gift certificates are the best gift of all (though rarely, teachers find them impersonal). Not only did one daycare provider ask for "a certificate to either a toy store or a supply store. Why? Because, I swear, I lose at least one toy a day due to toddler destruction," but gift certificates can be regifted (I suspect my middle sister, a teacher, of having done this on more than one occasion). I thought my farmer's market token idea was brilliant at the time; but you may want to choose a year-round market.
  • Gift certificate ideas: coffee shop, New Seasons, craft store, toy store, restaurant you know is convenient to teacher's home/school, co-op (I saw Truman's preschool teacher at People's so I can give her a GC with confidence!), Fred Meyer, spas, massage therapists, Escential, Powell's, one of Portland's awesome chocolate shops (Alma or Sahagun), other ideas?  
  • Winter-themed or holiday-themed ornaments, either purchased or made by your children, are welcome for teachers if you know what holiday they celebrate. Warning: make sure you're certain they celebrate Christmas before giving them Jesus in a popsicle-stick manger.
  • Food gifts. The Oregonian, as I mentioned, had a nice roundup of gift ideas; hot cocoa mix spiced with something unusual (chile? cinnamon? star anise?), homemade preserves (especially ice cream toppings), homemade spice blends, dried chiles, and pickles seem good choices. Buy some fantastic finishing salt from the Meadow, if you really love your child's teacher (vanilla salt!). Homemade vanilla is the hot gift this year (so says my Twitter stream); I'm making one batch with a star of star anise in addition to vanilla (I tested this myself and it's delicious -- but if you make it tonight, be sure and add a best-by date on label). However. Please remember, this being the city it is, many many people have very strict food rules, either due to values or aversions or allergies or some other things altogether (fear of pesticides maybe!). It would be unfortunate to give homemade Tollhouse cookie dough to a locavore teacher who doesn't do sugar or gluten. If you don't know, skip the food. At the very least, list ingredients with as much specificity as possible.
  • Crafty mamas. I have faith in my ability to make something with my own hands that a teacher will like. Perhaps it's hubris, but I'm going with it. I am, I think, about to head upstairs to my sewing room to pull together some reusable market bags for Everett's teachers and such, into which if I am still in possession of calm children, I will put some sort of food gift. Other relatively quick-to-make ideas I've come across in the past several minutes: quilted list takers (sweet); recycled sweater hats; retro apron; handspun yarn or needle roll (if you know teacher is a knitter). I'd love to hear your ideas.
  • Lotions & bath things. This wouldn't float my boat, but according to many online sources and real actual teachers, these are sometimes appreciated. To be safe (again remembering the city in which we live) I'd choose a brand with as few harmful surfactants and parabens and such as possible. One really excellent local brand is Wild Carrot Herbals; I met Jody, mama in charge, when she was hugely pregnant with her little daughter and I appreciate her products and principles mightily. You can find them at New Seasons, Limbo and People's Co-op (and probably other places, too).
  • No mugs! (Although if I were a teacher I would love a mug made by a local potter; I'm not a teacher so don't assume ;).
  • A nice letter. I was surprised how many times a teacher mentioned he or she treasured a thoughtful letter of appreciation. Especially, a hand-written one.

Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilio, Play-based: What does it all mean?

June 08, 2009

As a parent, the educational approaches and influences used in daycare and preschool settings can be overwhelming to say the least.  While surfing around to find more information, we found this piece that was a nice, quick guide on different approaches: "Waldorf? Play-based? Montessori?  What does it all mean?"  The options, the options.  A few pretty common approaches include (linking to wikipedia only because it seemed easiest and comprehensive - forgive us; we're no experts ourselves!):

  • Montessori: focusing on child-directed learning, practical life, learning through discovery, and use of specific materials to further a child's independence and curiousity.
  • Waldorf: emphasizing imagination in early learning, with extensive time in guided free play in a homelike natural environment with natural materials.
  • Reggio Emilio: also giving children some control over their own learning, encouraging small group project work and self-expression where teachers and children work collaboratively.
  • Play-Based: creating an environment where children can safely explore and experiment and accomplish learning through play.

How to make sense of it all?!  What "method" works well with what "kinds" of children?  An urbanMama recently emailed, wondering about your thoughts, experiences and perspectives on these different approaches:

I was recently doing some light research on different pre-school education programs and it seems like the three most predominant schools of learning for kids this age are Montessori based, Waldorf based, and play-centered based.  I currently have my girls in a Montessori program, and we're very happy with it, but I'm curious about the other two.  Does anyone have any insight on these, either through personal or professional work experience?  Are there any early childhood education specialists who could weigh in on this?  When I try to search for more info online it's hard to separate fact and research from testimonials from pre-schools trying to sell their own programs.  Is there a method that seems to be better or worse, or is it, like many things, dependent on the needs of the individual child?

Transitions: Starting Pre-school Can be Hard

September 24, 2008

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This just in from a mama whose eldest child just started pre-school and after a few weeks isn't very settled in.  Anyone have experiences to share with her?  Constructive guidance?  Thoughts on integrating young kids into immersion programs??  She writes:

My son started preschool 3 weeks ago.  My husband and I analyzed ourselves into a black hole about where to enroll him (can you tell he's our first child?).  He is a sensitive soul, and has a lot of trouble with transitions.  But he's also friendly and wants time to play with kids his own age.   I could have (and maybe should have) enrolled him in a gentler school.  One that is just for preschoolers, with small classes, one that starts later in the day, lets them move at their own pace, lets them focus on playing and learning the things they want to.  That probably would have been the better match for his temperament. 

But I really, more than anything, want my kids to be bilingual.  I won't go into all the reasons I thought that was all-important, but I will say that I specifically decided to enroll him in an immersion school even though I knew it might challenge him more socially.  Maybe 3 is too young for that, I don't know.  I could totally design his life around his sensitive temperament, but then I would never be challenging him to step outside his comfort zone.  His temperament is so foreign to me, I'm not sure if I'm helping him or hurting him by not being more sensitive to his sensitivities.  Two disclaimers: he only goes 3 mornings a week, and I've specifically designed some time away from work and his younger sister so he and I can have a whole morning alone together once a week.  He also gets some evening time alone with dad.

Continue reading "Transitions: Starting Pre-school Can be Hard" »

How far is too far?

February 25, 2008

When it comes to distance from your house, how far is too far?  Where is your school in relation to your home?  How big of a factor is it in deciding the best school for your child(ren)?  How far is too far?

I have a question for you and your readers.  We just moved here (a week ago!) and we're in the midst of a search for a Montessori preschool for my three year old son to start in the fall. We're also house hunting for a place close-in. So in other words, we have no idea where we'll be living in the fall, but we need to pick a preschool now since it seems most schools' deadlines are this or next week.  My question is, how far have other parents travelled to make the daily preschool trek?  Is it insane to choose a preschool in SE and end up living in NW? Or vice versa? I'm kind of anxious about all this (hence this 3am email), so any advice would be much appreciated!

What to expect at a coop preschool?

The cooperative school format is one that allows each member family to contribute to the school on an ongoing basis.  There are about 40 coop preschools here in Portland that are members of the Parent Child Preschools of Oregon, and there are likely many more that are not on that list.  For those of us who may not know what to expect in terms of commitments and obligations to our cooperative preschools, can some of you share your experiences?  Carole emails:

I am enrolling my child in a co-op preschool next fall.  I'm excited about the preschool, and pleased to be able to participate with my daughter (and see what she gets up to during the day), but admit that I'm a little nervous about the amount of time that everyone warns me that coop preschools end up demanding of the parent. On our registration form, I am already being asked to choose which Board position or classroom duties I would like to sign up for, even though I don't have a good idea how much time each entails. I'd like to ask experienced moms who've been through the coop preschool experience what would be an interesting yet LEAST TIME INTENSIVE "job" I can pick as my coop duty.  (Before it sounds like I am a lazy shirker, I should mention that I'm newly pregnant and will have a new baby in the fall, and really want to minimize time away from the baby.)

Just a few weeks left - counting down to school

August 14, 2007

Portland Public Schools kicks off the 2007-2008 school year in just three short weeks.  Will your child be going to school for the first time?  What sorts of things have you been doing to get ready for school?  Stocking up on the back-to-school suppply list that the school sent you?

We caught wind of a new product by Portland-company Blue Lake Children's Publishing.  It's called the Kindergarten Countdown Toolkit, and it comes with a DVD, a stack of Tessy & Tab magazines, and a kindergarten checklist.  The checklist has great tips for building up to the first day and week of school: visit the school, prepare for riding the bus or commuting to school, routinize the sleeping schedule, make a list for things to bring to school, and -- my personal favorite tip -- plan a special "first day" family dinner.

Another great idea is to start to get to know new families at your new school.  We've already been invited to our daughter's new school's end-of-summer picnic, and we already have our older daughter's back-to-school picnic on our calendars.  Sarah C recently posted that she belongs to a google group for her daughter's school, Beach Elementary.  We are figuring that there are many school  yahoo/google groups out there -- like Alameda Elementary, Creston School, Arthur Academy -- are there more?

Kindergarten is truly one of those first milestones you will definitely not forget.  Megan's daughter will be starting this fall, she asks:

Stella is starting Kindergarten (too soon!) at Vernon, and I'd love to find some other families to have some playdates so she might have a familiar face or two on her first day of school.  Do you guys know of anyone?

Are you in the same situation as Megan and would like to meet others from your school?  Start posting in the comments and let's see if we can help any of you connect! Any other ideas on how to prepare for the next school year, especially for those who are just starting their first days?  Three weeks will be gone before we know it!

Show Me the $: Preschool Fundraising for Novices

July 23, 2007

I certainly went through a crazy experience volunteering for my son's preschool fundraiser.  The craziness involved sending out the thank you notes to 100+ donors using a mish mash of notes and manually tracking down addresses.  Certainly not fun especially since the budget was nil.  Lisa wants to hear if you have any sage advice.  She writes:

I am dipping my toes into the vast ocean of volunteer fundraising for schools.  Like most child care centers and pre-schools (and most other schools in America, I imagine), our staff could use a few more bucks for the important job that they do so well and so patiently with our precious children.  It’s the same old story with pre-schools everywhere: tuition is expensive for parents but staff is underpaid.  We hope to reduce staff turnover by offering real living wages that value our teachers.

Until this issue is solved in the public policy arena (maybe we’ll tackle that one through the Activistas forum!), I am hoping to learn from the many, many parents who have walked this path before me.  What worked fabulously?  What was a ton of work with low pay off?  A ton of work with high payoff?  Grant writing? Auctions?  Bake sales?  Picnics? What would you avoid like the plague, never ever do again?  If you were the development director at your child’s school, what would you do - and why?  Any thoughts on professional event coordinators working with parent volunteers?  Worth it or waste of money?


Immediate Preschool Openings Fall 2007

July 09, 2007

We have received numerous emails regarding searching for toddler and preschools openings this fall.  To help facilitate finding openings for those who have waited, or are desiring to switch programs last minute, we'd like to offer this post as a place to allow schools, centers, parents, etc. to let the urbanMamas community know of any opportunities.  Do you have any?  Please post in the comments.

Creative Minds Learning Center has openings for our Fall programs. We offer Toddler, Preschool and Kindergarten programs which feature the A Beka curriculum. Education is a natural part of a child's life and we believe in a structured program which facilitates their desire for learning. Our daily rhythm includes the Preschool and Kindergarten programs as well as cooking classes, music and dance, sign language, circle time, science and gardening as well as Reggio Emilia influenced art programs. Our programs include a graduation ceremony with State transcripts (since we are a private school for children ages 24 months- 6 years)and a diploma certificate. We hold parent/ teacher conferences and assesments, quarterly. 92% of children that have graduated our school are advanced readers and/ or math. To learn more about our beliefs and school, please check out our web site at: http://www.CREATIVEMINDSLEARNINGCENTER.com You may call us to schedule a meet and greet with your family at: (503) 252-0004 ext.1

The Preschool Pressure - PDX Style

June 27, 2007

We've heard stories about the preschool frenzy in cities like New York where waitlists are eons-long and parents wake up at the crack of dawn to spend days in lines to sign kids up for preschools.  Here in Portland, is the story the same?  After the recent post on the Portland Preschool Scene, Tracy got to thinking:

The recent question about preschool has me thinking about a bigger issue, which is why the pressure to start kids in preschool at age 3 anyway?  I'm a mom who has arranged life to avoid group care settings for my little ones on purpose.  I've really struggled with whether or not to send my oldest (age 3) to preschool next fall and get all kinds of messages that I'm missing something if I don't.  He gets plenty of social opportunities through Parks and Rec classes, play groups, etc where I'm present to help him work things out and develop social skills.  He gets all kinds of exposure to letters, numbers, books, etc at home.  I have no doubt that at age 4 he'll go because I don't want kindergarten to be his first school experience.  But does it have to be so soon?  My solution has been to sign up at a cooperative so I'm part of the program, but I haven't fully committed to sending him yet.  I'd love to hear what others think and whether or not I'm the only one questioning this pressure.

Not only do we question the pressure, we also wonder whether all children will have access to the same resources, regardless of familial situation.  Kris recently emailed:

I am a mother of an 18 month old girl and have amerced myself in everything motherly including reading mommy blogs, having regular play dates scheduled, being a part of several moms groups, and basically just networking with other mommies like crazy.  On a regular basis I find myself upset and confused on the issue of single mothers unable to find quality daycare that they can afford. I myself am married and we do well financially, well, we make ends meet anyways. Daycare is hard enough for us to pay for and I know, because I have met some, that for single moms without a lot of support it gets close to impossible to afford good care. I know how hard it is to leave your child with another person and couldn't imagine having to leave them with someone that I didn't feel good about.  I am wondering if anyone knows how to get active on this issue. Are there single moms out there who have any ideas on how to make good care for their children an option?

Mamas, what say you?  What are your thoughts?  Is it a matter of the "haves" and the "have-nots"?  Do you feel like these differences are less pronounced here in Portland?

National Teacher Day tomorrow!

May 07, 2007

Tomorrow, May 8, is National Teacher Day.  We know so many of us are privileged with wonderful, inspirational, patient and nurturing teachers in our lives.  Do you have something planned to celebrate your teacher tomorrow?

Insight on Trillium Preschool

April 23, 2007

We received recent email asking for your experiences:

I'd like to find out more about Trillium Preschool in North Portland. It'd be great to hear comments or recommendations from parents who's kids are presently enrolled or who plan on attending this fall.

Insight on Peninsula Children's Center

April 22, 2007

Does anyone have experience with Peninsula Children's Center? Sara asks:

I'm considering starting my child at Peninsula Children's Center. It's affordable, diverse, and seems decent for the price. I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with it. I know that there won't be organic snacks and bunny-petting and other wonderful amenities I've seen at daycares I cannot afford, and I've accepted that. I'd just like to know whether it's worked out for your family, and why.

I Don't Want to Go to School!

March 26, 2007

Every time we tell my son "it's time to get ready for school" his inevitable reply is "but I don't want to go to school!"  This started over a year ago, and even though I kept telling myself it's just a phase, it hasn't stopped yet.  Late last winter I was just starting the pregnancy with son #2 and despite my best efforts to contact pre-schools and get my elder son enrolled, the strong urge to procrastinate won out and I didn't lift a finger until November that year.  This means we MAY be able to get him in to another pre-school by next fall (2007).  That's a big MAY.

Currently he's only going to his care center 2 days a week at most.  Sometimes if he's sick or there's a weather day, we haven't taken him in.  Add to that the two and a half months he was home with me for my maternity leave, and maybe he thinks just whining about it will mean he can stay home instead (or better yet, go to Granny's house!).  When he starts his denial I try to engage him in a conversation about what it is he doesn't like about school, so we can address what his issues are rather than just dismissing them.  Usually he says he doesn't like when his "friends" at school hurt him (which doesn't necessarily mean physical hurt, but also emotional hurt).  The scenarios he describes are not unusual interactions for 3 year olds, as far as I can tell, so I offer him some solutions for dealing with the situations that arise.  I've discussed his concerns with the teachers and tried to probe them for solutions, but they have their own issues in trying to deal with the gaggle of kids in the classroom, so my little guy's needs just get lost in the mix.  In my heart of hearts, though, I know that this is not the place for him to do his best growing and learning.  But, until our number is up at any of our other choices, this place will have to do.

Am I the ONLY mama who totally missed the preschool boat?  I mean I heard it was difficult but I think needing full time preschool 2-3 days a week and needing to get enrolled more than a year in advance really threw me for a loop.  I think I really mucked this one up and I hope my little guy doesn't suffer for my mistake.  Hopefully, I'll get a call that our dream situation has arrived, and then things will get better.  I also can't help wondering if we actually make the change, he'll still not want to go to school because ultimately, he just wants to be with his family instead.

Westside Montessori Recommendations

March 13, 2007

Sarah's seeking advice on Montessori schools on the west side.  Can you help?

I'm researching preschools for my 3 year old daughter who we'll be enrolling for school in fall of '07.  Does anyone have any experience or knowledge they can share about Two Rivers Montessori, West Hills Montessori, West Hills Learning Center or Sunny Hill Preschool? There are so many options, and I'm planning to visit each of these, but I'd love to hear from any mamas who have first-hand experience.

A beacon of green

March 10, 2007

Last Thursday's Oregonian featured Eco-Friendly childcares and what the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC)* does to promote eco-friendly childcare.  There are now over 100 Eco-Healthy childcare providers in Oregon, including 40 or so in Portland!  The number participating childcare providers is on the rise.  Is your childcare designated Eco-Healthy

* OEC also administers the Tiny Footprints Program.

International Schools and Immersion Programs

February 27, 2007

Here in Portland, we believe we have a wealth of educational choices.  On such choice is language study.  Portland Public Schools offer language immersion programs: Ainsworth, Atkinson, Beach offers Spanish Immersion; Woodstock offers Mandarin Immersion; Richmond offers Japanses.

The International School also offers language study (Chinese, Japanese, Spanish) for our children.  Melinda, in a previous conversation on kindergartens, says:

Giving our daughter a bilingual education is a real priority for us. We went to an open house at the International School last night. They offer immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese from pre-school to grade 5. Does anyone have any experience, both positive and maybe not-so-positive, with the International School?

Childcare Forum for Providers

February 16, 2007

We recently launched the urbanMamas Childcare Referral Forum as a place for childcare seekers to post their requests.  What we forgot to mention is that it's also open to providers.  If you have a school related open house or event, send us an email and we will gladly post it on the forum.  Do you have an opening at your school or childcare facility?  Let us know, and we will help to spread the word!

Happy President's Day!

February 15, 2007

My manager just said, "Wait!  Schools are closed on Monday?  And office is closed on Monday?"  I said, "Uh, hm.  Yes."

So, what do you all have planned?  Many of our favorite museums are normally closed on Mondays, but they open their doors on Monday holidays.  So, head to OMSI or the Childrens Museum, and you'll probably see many friends and families there with the same idea.  Are there any other fun activities scheduled for the Monday Holiday?  SCRAP has a great workshop offering from 10AM to noon, for kids 5 and up.  Also, the Contemporary Crafts Museum does School's Out / Art's In! Classes for Kids.  This upcoming Monday, there's Japanese dyeing techniques for kids in grades 1-6 from 9:30 to 3:30.  Any other suggestions for fun times for the school holiday?

N/NE Preschool Fair

January 26, 2007

MOMS Club of N/NE Portland is hosting a free Preschool Fair. Come meet local preschools, talk to the teachers and other parents and find the best preschool for your child.

Saturday, January 27, 2007
9:00am - 1:00pm
Grant Park Church Gymnasium
2728 NE 34th Ave, Portland OR (cross street Knott)
Refreshments provided.

Getting Ready for Auctions

January 15, 2007

Auction season is right around the corner, and many of us will be involved in organizing, procuring, and advertising. Auctions are employed by our schools small and large, private and public, preschool and elementary. Not only is it a great way to raise funds for a school, it's also usually a fun way to socialize with teachers, administrators, and parents of the school community. Shane is working on organizing classroom projects for auction at the event:

We are getting ready for our annual auction fundraiser at my daughter's school. Does anyone have any ideas for classroom projects that worked well?

Montessori Schools in Portland

January 14, 2007

Even though the new year is still so new, it's time to start thinking about the options for the fall. Lydia is gettiing a head start and researching Montessori preschools:

I'd like to ask other urbanMamas about the Montessori schools in Portland. My daughter will turn three during the 07/08 school year, so I'm researching now and getting ready to apply by the end of next month. We live in the Mt Tabor area - so far we've visited the Franciscan Earth School and Harmony Montessori and had good impressions of them both. I'm particularly interested to hear from any mamas who are NOT happy with the schools their children attend, and why.

Another eastside Montessori School is Providence Montessori.

On the westside, there is Childpeace Montessori, Odyssey Montessori, West Hills School, Two Rivers, Child's View.

We welcome your feedback, if you'd had experiences with these schools.

Seeking Part-Time Childcare for under 2

January 10, 2007

uMamas, can you help Jennifer out with some suggestions?

I just found out that our nanny is taking a full-time job with Google and I have a month to find childcare for my 20-month old girl. I think she would benefit from a daycare setting, but in the limited amount of research I've done so far it's been hard to find one that a) is conveniently located, b) allows half days (I work part time), c) takes kids her age, and d) has immediate openings! I've seen lots of interesting preschools out there, but most won't take kids her age, and most of the daycare places don't have websites so it's hard to learn much about them in a short time. Anyone have any recommendations? We live in northeast, near New Seasons in Concordia.

Love & Logic Workshop

January 09, 2007

The workshop last September experienced a great response, and it's back again.  The session will include a brief overview of Love and Logic (focusing on the 0-5 age group) with lots of time to walk through specific scenarios.  The session hopes to help take the ideas from the Love and Logic books and learning how to really put them into practice in day-to-day situations with kids.  Here are details:

Love & Logic Workshop
Thursday, January 18
6:30 to 8:00 PM
held at Growing Seeds North, 6501 NE MLK

  • Presenter: Tracey Johnson, LCSW
  • Cost: $15 person or $20 a couple
  • No child care will be provided/a parents only event
  • Please RSVP to Amy at Growing Seeds at amy@growingseeds.net by Friday Jan 12th
  • The Tiny Footprints Program

    November 30, 2006

    Create an Eco-Healthy Environment with the Tiny Fooprints Program. The Oregon Environmental Council’s Tiny Footprints’ website is an online resource which helps identify eco-healthy options for raising children. The website includes parks that don't use pesticides, eco-healthy childcare facilities, plastics should you consider avoiding, and eco-healthy baby gifts. Or if you are just getting started, check out Tiny Footprints’ eco-healthy baby shower kit which is a great way to get family and friends involved at the beginning of a child's life.

    For more information on this program, please call Sara Leverette at (503) 222-1963 x105. Would you like a Tiny Footprints Baby Shower Kit? Please email saral@oeconline.org.

    Choose Eco-Healthy!

    November 21, 2006

    Thank you to the Oregon Enivornmental Council for passing on this info.  I never knew about the Eco-Healthy designation until our daughter's school qualified for the designation last year.

    Maximize your child’s potential by choosing an Eco-Healthy Childcare.

    Every day, new information tells us that environmental hazards like chemicals in cleaning products and weed killers are too risky for children.  Children are simply more sensitive to environmental toxins than adults, so maintaining environmentally-healthy settings is particularly important.

    The Oregon Environmental Council’s Eco-Healthy Childcare is a free, voluntary program that improves the environmental health of child care facilities.   Eco-Healthy childcare providers comply with 20 of 25 items on a checklist of eco-healthy best practices that includes avoiding pesticide use, mercury thermometers, air fresheners and other potential environmental health hazards.

    To date, 96 Eco-Healthy childcares have qualified throughout the state of Oregon.  Thirty-six of them are in Portland!  Please visit http://www.oeconline.org/kidshealth/ecoqualified for a complete listing of qualified providers. The program was awarded a U.S Environmental Protection Agency Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award this spring.  For more information on this program please contact Sara Leverette at (503) 222-1963 x105.

    Lee Owen Stone Preschool Winter Holiday Sale

    November 02, 2006

    And if you didn't have anything planned for this Saturday, November 4th, you are cordially invited to attend our First Annual Winter Holiday Sale from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at Lee Owen Stone Preschool on 2728 NE 34th Ave Portland, Oregon 97211.

    Come and enter your admission ticket to our door prize raffle! Your $3 admission fee entitles you to:

    • One free raffle door prize ticket!
    • Enjoy yummy treats, cool finds, and great company in a festive environment.
    • You will find everything from antiques to one-of-a-kind items made by local designers and by our very own in-house artists, The LOS preschoolers!
    • Save 20-50% off of retail on gift certificates for local businesses.
    • Get all of your holiday shopping done in one day while supporting your local businesses and neighborhood cooperative preschool!

    The current students at LOS and their families look forward to seeing you at our event. As always thank you for your continued support of our historic preschool.

    New Day School Harvest Festival

    October 30, 2006

    On Sunday, November 12th from 3 to 6 p.m. Friendship Masonic Center, 5626 NE Alameda Street, the New Day School will be holding their annual Harvest Festival fundraiser.  This is a great opportunity for parents who are interesting in sending their child to the school to meet other parents and kids, to learn more about the school from those best able to describe their experiences.  There will be entertainment (Play After Play - interactive theater for kids and Uncle Wiggly), food, and a silent auction.  The New Day School is much loved by it's community of parents, kids, and teachers.  It's one of the only full-time preschool options in the inner SE.  Come and support this terrific school whether you are intending to send your children here or not.  Tickets are $15 each for adults.  Childcare is available for those still not breastfeeding or can be toted around in a sling.  For more information or if you'd like to make a donation, please email: urbanmamas@gmail.com.

    Immediate Preschool Openings Fall 2006

    August 29, 2006

    Don't you feel like getting your child into preschool is as competitive as getting into college these days?  The nightmarish waiting list, and ultimately, what if it's not a good fit?  We'll for those that have written off the process completely, and feel like you've missed the boat.  We've been informed that there is an immediate opening at Growing Seeds Hollywood.  Do you know of any others?  Can you help some other urbanMamas out by posting any additional openings in the comments?  A good school is hard to find, but the right timing sometimes may even be harder.

    Seeking Childcare for a 2-yr old, NE/SE/NW

    July 08, 2006

    uMamas, we came across another request via the We Are Family thread.  Jocelyn is looking for suggestions for her 2-year old:

    I have a 25 month old. I am a working mama and I work in Wilsonville. When I returned to work after maternity leave, I wanted my son near to work so I could nurse him. The benefits of having him close-by outweighed the negatives (long commute for a small baby/toddler). But now, there is no reason for him to be out here, when we live in NE. I am looking for childcare in NE/SE/NW to bridge the gap between now and the time he is potty trained and 3 years old. Help. Is there any hidden gem out there. Everywhere I look, the wait list is long, for example Growing seeds and Providence on NE 47th ave. I looked at Alameda Montesorri and decided against it for now. What else is available out there. HELP!! The commute is getting worse and worse as my little angel learns to assert his wants and dislikes. He does not like being in the car that long!!

    The Garden's Noise Preschool

    June 12, 2006

    Lea would like to more about a preschool, but an Internet search does not suffice to even dredge up contact details?  Perhaps even better is Asha's write up on The Garden's Noise Preschool, but still no contact information.  Asha?  Anyone?

    NE Type Pre-School in SW?

    April 17, 2006

    I love that NE pre-schools seem to have such a wonderful, kind of arty, progressive style - love the baking, gardening, playing music, etc..  We live in Beaverton and will drive over for the right pre-school, but would rather not.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a great little pre-school, that has a part-time program and will treat my little lady like gold? 

    Thanks!

    Preschool Wanted - NE, Part-Time, Five Day Program

    April 09, 2006

    Ahh, the beloved topic of preschools!  We've started a long thread of posts but even with all the discussion you'd think it would be easy to find the right fit, and it seems like every family has a different need and it doesn't always fit the mold.  Rebecca is looking for a preschool near the NE Alberta, does anyone have any advice?  Read on:

    I'm moving to Portland on or around May 1 from Berkeley, CA (and share Erica's love of the Berkeley Parents Network). I have 2 boys, the oldest of whom just turned 3. He is currently in a family-run daycare. Since the arrival of his younger brother, I haven't wanted to shake up his world any more than it already was by starting him in preschool. Now, though, I'd like to get him into a preschool, and I'm totally clueless about how to start. I would ideally like to find a 5-day program for him (albeit short days). Does anyone have any recommendations or know of any openings? We will be living around 9th and Alberta.

    Summer is right around the corner, Part 4

    March 30, 2006

    Ok, so I'm not so good at consolidating all of these summer camps. Thanks, Kat, for the reminder about Rowanberry School's summer program:

    Rowanberry School Summer Art Camp offers two sessions, each 3 weeks long, T-W-Th, from 9AM to 1PM. The first session runs July 11 to 27; the second session runs August 1 to 17th. Cost per session is $325. The first session focuses on painting techniques with watercolor, acryllics, and tempera. The second session focuses on clay sculpting. Teacher/owner Angela says the camps will have "a focused art component each day, but it is really 'low key', plenty of time to play in the treehouse or garden, run through the sprinklers, make lemonade, you know, all the essentials of summer!"

    Summer is right around the corner, Part 3

    Thank you, Blair, for your comprehensive list of suggestions on summer camps!  Without further ado, here are some additional suggestions for summer program offerings:

    Camp Vida (*pdf)at Providence Montessori, 4911 NE Couch St, 503-215-2409.  The *pdf links to the 2005 program; they're still working on the 2006 program.  I called and the program should be about the same.  It looks like it starts 6/19, runs 5 2-week sessions each with different themes.  Cost is about $95 per wk for half day / $195 per week for full day, and there are before- and after-care options for more money.

    Franciscan Montessori Earth School, 14750 SE Clinton, 503-760-8220.  I spoke to someone yesterday and they're mailing a brochure for the summer program. Schoolita Alegria, 1814 NE 33rd, 503-288-5574.  They offer Bilingual School Summer Camp Fun, 6/26-8/10, Ages 3-8, includes Spanish, Art, Movement, Small Class Size.

    Harmony Montessori, 1740 SE 139th, 503-255-5337.  The 2005 Summer Camp info can be found here.  I spoke to the director yesterday, she's super nice, and she's working on the brochure right now.  She said it will run from the last week of June through August, a 7-week program.  There are 3, 4, and 5 day options and it runs from 9am -3pm.  Ages 3-6.

    Sunnyside Montessori House of Children, SE 122nd in Happy Valley, 503-698-4203.  Summer Daycare open from 6:30 am to 6 pm, M-F from the beginning of July to the end of August.  Full day, includes lunch & 2 snacks, $450/month. Half day, includes lunch & 1 snack, $350/month. Daily rate, includes lunch & 2 snacks, $27/day. Hourly rate, $4/hour.  I got this info in December so it may need to be updated.  The school serves kids 3-6, potty trained, so I assume the summer camp does too.

    International School, Language Immersion Summer Camp, ages 3 - 5th grade, Downtown, 503-226-2496.  There are four sessions, each 2 weeks, from June 19 to August 11. Themes are: Solar System, Forest Life, Planet Earth, and Exploring the Ocean. For older kids there are OMSI workshops with additional themes, trips to the zoo and to Waterfront Park, swimming at RiverPlace Athletic Club.  Half day sessions (2 weeks) are $300, full day $400 and daycare is available until 6pm.  Snacks are provided, but you must provide lunch.

    Willowbrook Outdoor Summer Arts Program, 503-691-6132.  The program looks like a big, true summer camp, at a park in Tualatin, but it also accepts children as young as 3 year olds.  Looks interesting.  The sessions run from June 26 to August 4, M-F, 9am-3:15pm. Drama & Theater, Music, Dance, Arts, Crafts, Nature, Writing, World Arts, Ceramics, Basketry, Weaving, Photography.  Attend weekly or daily, full or half day, aftercare is available.

    Pre-Nursey School Age Cutoff

    March 21, 2006

    It seems Lisa's son will miss the age cutoff for a part-time pre- / nursery school program.  Anyone with some thoughts to offer this fellow mom?

    My son's birthday is at the end of October and the nursery school's we're interested in have a cut-off date of being 2 by September 1st. This means he won't be able to start nursery school until he is almost 3. I'm wondering how other mamas have dealt with this situation. Are there any programs or nursery schools that provide the things that nursery school does (activities, social interaction and, not least of all, a few hours for mama alone time!) that are available for kids who don't meet the age cut-off required by most nursery schools. I'm looking, ideally, for something that meets 2-4 hours a day a few days per week. Thanks in advance!

    Public Pre-K Offerings

    March 08, 2006

    Did you know that Portland Public Schools offer pre-kindergarten programs for any Portland kid 4 years old on or before September 1 of the year they're planning to enroll?  Here's the scoop, direct from the PPS early education web site.  I've included links for easier perusing:

    Half-day programs

    • Beach - Dual language, Spanish Immersion program, 1710 N. Humboldt, 503-916-6236   
    • Chief Joseph, 2409 N Saratoga, 503-916-6255
    • Sabin, 4013 NE 18th, 503-916-6181
    • Vernon, 2044 NE Killingsworth, 503-916- 6415

    Full-day programs

    Full-day, fee-for-service pre-kindergarten

    • Richmond Elementary, full-day and half-day Japanese Immersion pre-kindergarten program. 2276 SE 41st; 503-916-6220.

    Make sure to download the School Catalog to read up on the stats and offerings at each school.  Any mamas with experiences they'd like to share?

    Montessori of Alameda

    February 28, 2006

    Several parents have floated to our site looking for info on Montessori of Alameda.  Does anyone have thoughts about the school?  Please share!  Programs range from infant-age through 3rd grade.  I understand there is even a bus pick-up/drop-off program, as well as summer camps.

    Here's perspective from Shannon, whose son was enrolled in the infant program for three months before she decided to stay home:

    It's a wonderful school and I really, really, really like the teachers.  The biggest thing that I noticed that was different about the infant/toddler community (vs. other 'daycares') - is that they have real grass to play in; and everything was so much cleaner than others that I had visited.  If you're thinking of going the private school route (instead of the public school system), it's really nice that the Montessori goes through the third grade.  I also noticed that the older toddlers had some really fun & varied learning activities.  They also learn manners - yah!  If you want to 'tour' - I think all you have to do is call & make an appointment.  (Call Maya, the infant / toddler director -- 503-335-3321 )

    They're located on NE 42nd & Going - where the old Wells Fargo bank used to be.  When my son is pre-school aged - we'll be going back to the Montessori!

    Growing Seeds North

    February 22, 2006

    I just received more info from the new Growing Seeds that is opening in NE Portland this spring.  The location is 6501 NE MLK Blvd, at the intersection of NE MLK and NE Portland.  It sounds like it will be a great full-service program.  Here is a more detailed description, as sent by one of the owners:

    Growing Seeds North  will offer full range of care from 6 weeks to Kindergarten-ready. The space will be licensed for 76 children. It will consist of 5 rooms of full-day only.  It breaks down to 8 infants, 8 one year olds, 10 two year olds, 10 three year olds, 20 4 & 5 year olds, and a room of 20 half-day preschool only children. Each class will have a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking teacher. At this point we are requiring families to attend a Growing Seeds open house and fill out a waiting list application.  By March 15th, we will be collecting our enrollment fees and first month tuition to hold spots for when we open. This enables us to properly hire staff and train for the predicted amount of children who will be attending.

    The rates are the same as Growing Seeds. One major difference at Growing Seeds North is that we will have a full kitchen and will provide all organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat, including lunches. We will also have two outdoor areas, one for infants and wobblers and one for toddlers and preschoolers. It is quite exciting to have been able to design the room layouts and the spaces. It will provide the children with more space and room than the current Hollywood location has available for them.
    Here is one mama's perspective on Growing Seeds in Hollywood.
    For more info, it's best to contact Growing Seeds at 503.288.1171.

    Transitioning from Life with Daddy and Mommy to Preschool

    Dear Urban Mamas,

    We have a 27-month old daughter who has spent her life to-date with either her Daddy or Mommy.  Next week, she's starting pre-school three full days per week.  We're anxious about the transition for all three of us.  Do any of you have suggestions about how to prepare and/or cope?  I would sure appreciate it!

    Thank you,
    Kaaren

    Japanese Preschool Playground Fundraiser

    February 21, 2006

    I would just like to let other urbanMamas know that the Japanese preschool my 4 year old daughter Mia attends is holding a fundraiser in two weeks (Saturday, March 4th) from 11-2 in order to raise money for a new playground. There will be an obstacle course-a-thon, a silent auction including area restaurants and Bonneville Hots Springs certificates, and SUSHI and Japanese-style baked goods.

    Kohitsuji Preschool is located at the Japanese International Baptist Church in Tigard on SW Spruce street off of Hall between 217 and 99W (8500 SW Spruce St., Tigard, OR  Tel: 503.246.4680) . The playground will be used by the church kids, the Kohitsuji kids, and kids from Sakura-kai (thursday evening Japanese language classes).

    Please come and buy a cookie or macha tiramisu or some rolled sushi if you have the time.

    Thanks,

    Kirsten

    If you would like more information on Japanese language opportunities in the Portland area, check out the JASO website on the subject here, or feel free to email me.

    Metzger Community Preschool

    February 20, 2006

    Metzger Community Prescool in SW PDX/Tigard. Non-profit co-op preschool with the philosophy of creating a nurturing environment by united efforts in a "family of families". This is a very User-Friendly preschool that promotes Friendships(for you & your child), Familiar Surroundings, Freedom, Fairness, Feelings, Fellowship, and FUN! Please share with us your personal experiences below:

    Finding Preschools, Part 32 - Full-Time, NE

    February 01, 2006

    With each family having specific needs, it's so hard to figure out programs that actually are a good fit.  Emily, another mama is looking for the following:

    In one of the other preschool postings someone mentioned a place in Irvington called Evergreen. I haven’t been able to find contact info for it anywhere. Might someone out there have a phone number, location, or full name that is listed in the phone book? We’re also looking for a full-day preschool/daycare in NE, for a 2 yr old, that’s open by 7:30am.

    Finding Preschools, Part 31 - Sensory Integration Disorder

    A question from Anne, another urbanMama reader.  By chance, does anyone have any advice or recommendations?

    I'd like to ask for some information about childcare:  I have twin boys, almost three, that I really want to get into preschool next fall.  One has recently been diagnosed with a sensory integration disorder, which makes it extremely difficult for him to transition/adjust to new situations.  A brief preschool experience last fall (before we knew about his SID) makes me question whether a preschool setting is the best thing for him, at least as a first time away from home.  So I'm starting to look around for childcare in a private home.  I drive by Alameda Beaumont Childcare almost daily and wonder if anyone has any experience with it, or any other suggestions in N/NE.  I have to find something - and would like to get both boys started on the journey of not being home and only in each others company all day.

    Finding Preschools, Part 30 - No Potty Training Requirement

    January 31, 2006

    From one of our dear readers, Lea:

    I have been looking all over to find a pre-school and need some help. I wanted to find a pre-school that is bilingual, that takes 2-2 1/2 year olds and that does not require your child to be potty trained. I am not sure where to find this information. Any ideas? Thank you.

    What do you do for Back-Up??

    January 23, 2006

    I've been meaning to post this for a while, but Blogging Baby's "Another Day Off???" reminded me that spring break and other days off are right around the corner!  If only my work vacation schedule could follow the school vacation schedule, then I wouldn't have a minor heart attack each time the two-week winter break or one-week spring break comes up, not to mention the handful of "faculty in-service days" when the school is not open for the children!  Even our small in-home school follows the Portland public school calendar.  Rightfully so.  It still doesn't prevent me from having a hard time digging up temporary care for the girls.  What to do?

    * Start early & Scour craigslistcl is always my first stop for finding ideas for our irregular childcare needs.  From cl, we found a family with a nanny who was looking for a full-time share with another family.  That was two summers ago, and we are still close friends with the family.  Not only did we find wonderful, happy, quality care, we found a family of friends, too.  We've also found wonderful in-home schools through craigslist.  We take plenty of precautions, of course, but at least it's a place to start.

    * Ask established daycares / schools if they can accept drop-ins: beyond Grandma's Place, there could be room at your nearby child development center during vacation periods, due to absent children travelling or taking extended holidays.  The classrooms will be fully staffed, but children vacationing with their families may leave a spot or two open for some or all of the days.  Most recently, we sent our girls to Growing Seeds (in the Hollywood neighborhood) for almost all of last week.  We paid a flat drop-in rate for each child, and they enjoyed GS's wonderful nurturing environment.  We actually feel lucky that they got to spend some time there.  (See Danielle's great comments on Growing Seeds.)

    * Keep a list of back-up care providers: In the past two years, we've tried to assemble a list of people to call.  There's the sitter we once met via criagslist and interviewed to be a potential summer sitter for us.  There's the former substitute teacher at one of our daughter's schools.  There's the teacher of one of my colleague's children.  There's our neighbor's college-age daughter who is home for spring breaks, summers, and winter breaks.

    * Pool resources:  In an impromptu cooperative way, we've pooled resources with another family.  On one occasion when our sitter had a medical emergency, three of the four parents finagled work-from-home or used vacation time.  Each parent did a shift with the four kids, and we somehow made it through a week without even having to seek beyond our small circle of parents.  Also in another instance, a friend - with two kids of her own - offered to take in our two girls for a day.  To an extent, it works well.  Kids close in age can occupy one another for good stretches of time!

    So, have you ever been put in this situation?  Any tips to share? 

    Another mama looking for a preschool - N.NW.NE

    January 17, 2006

    So, I met another one of us - a mama scouring options and search far and wide for the best situation for her 16-month old son.  She needs FT care in the very inner N.NE.NW areas.  Her son is now at the Peninsula Children's Center, and she's looking for a new space where her son can grow, live, learn!  Any ideas or comments?  Growing SeedsRowanberry School (Angela?)?  Escuela Viva?  Any other great in-home schools?