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Childpeace, Emerson, .... Thoughts?

We are faced with two really great opportunities for our daughter next year.  She'll be in the 1st grade, and the two options are: Childpeace Montessori and the Emerson School.

Childpeace is is a Montessori elementary school recognized by AMI.  Their space in the Northwest is nurturing, bright, and safe.  We feel like our daughter could thrive there, be happy there, love to learn there.  BUT, a couple of major drawbacks of the school include 1) cost and 2) lack of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

Emerson is a charter school in the Portland Public School system.  Their location in the Northwest (on the North Park Blocks) sometimes feels a little cramped.  We love how integrated into the city and into the world at large the students become, as a function of the school's child-directed project approach.

I'm wondering if anyone has any insight or perspective to share on either school?  Do you have a child who goes there?  Or know someone who goes there?  We'd love to hear your thoughts!


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My daughter has gone to Childpeace for the last three years, and we think it's great. Our daughter is thriving there, and is incredibly interested in learning and in the world at large. If you want to e-mail me with specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

My son attends preschool at Childpeace. We love the teachers and the quality of the experience he is getting. It's worth every penny. I have heard that the elementary classrooms tend to be cliquey... probably because of the small population.

One factor to keep in mind: as a public charter school, Emerson is tuition-free. Because I work with charter schools around the state, I am familiar with Emerson and believe it to be a terrific school. I know parents who send their children there and love it, and it always has a very long waiting list.

I don't have any personal experiences with Childpeace, sorry.

My daughter is will be attending Emerson this Fall. We were very happy to recieve a slot in the lottery as we have had nothing but great feedback from other parents as well as the woman who is the charter liason with PPS.

Sorry to have not followed-up since my original post! We also were lucky to have received a spot via the lottery system and our daughter Philly starts Emerson this fall. I have also heard nothing but great things about the school - from other parents and administrators/teachers at other schools. We are thrilled.

our daughter started at emerson last year and will be in 1st (in the K/1) this year. we've been extraordinarily happy with the school, its philosphies and practices, and its community.... except for the !@#$% parking

We have a child in Childpeace. It's our first year there. There are things we like about it (the space feels good, we feel like the experience is good for him) and things we don't. I think Olivia's observation about the lack of diversity is important and points to a deeper problem at Childpeace. Childpeace started out as an organization with deep convictions about promoting peace. I believe that 30 years later, it is an organization that promotes status consciousness among its almost entirely white and affluent "community members." Like most schools these days, they raise money with an annual auction. The value of donations are published so that everyone knows who gave what and how much it was worth. They also publish thank-yous in the school newsletter to families who donate goods or money. It wouldn't bother me so much except that their tuition assistance program is practically non-existent. They offered partial or full scholarships to only nine students this past school year. Their tuition assistance funds come largely from an endowment specifically for tuition assistance. The donor apparently stipulated that they should tap into the principle of the fund if it ever meant the difference between a student being able to go to Childpeace or not. I have reason to believe that they do not do this. I also find their lack of financial transparency a little disturbing. They are a non-profit. They charge what most people deem to be a lot of money for tuition and they are always begging for more donations. And yet, they never say what they do with that money. Surely they could make more of a commitment to tuition assistance (and thereby diversity). My gut feeling is that Childpeace is an organization that has lost its moral compass and its interest in promoting peace. I sincerely doubt that they will be able to help instill those values in children for that reason. In my mind, it's become just another Montessori program for affluent families only (because no one else can afford it and their tuition assistance is so meager). I worry that if we keep our child there, she will learn that status consciousness is important and normal and that affluence is something to be admired in and of itself. I think we'll probably end up deciding to move her somewhere else when we find the right alternative. Speaking of which, you should know going into Childpeace that they will try to pressure you into committing to keep your child there through kindergarten and beyond and that you are required to donate time and additional money on top of paying that big tuition.

It was quite interesting to stumble across this topic on Urban Mamas. I of course was very interested to read the different opinions offered, though quite shocked to read the perspective voiced by Truth. I am hoping the author of this message will reach out to one of the administration or faculty members at Childpeace so we may work through some of their concerns-especially if their child truly is a member of our community. It's particularly important that he/she know the impressions of the tuition assistance program are not accurate and we are more than happy to share additional information about this program. I am deeply concerned knowing that a Childpeace family has such concerns and once again urge the author to contact someone at the school.

Cloie Cohen, Assistant Administrator

oh whatever, narda. get off your high horse. if you're so delusional that you can't admit you are exposing your child/ren to an extremely privileged and narrow view of the world by sending them to an expensive private school, then you aren't going to understand what truth was trying to say.


It appears that this original post may have taken a tangent - but it's very relavent/timely for me and I'm hoping that I might be able to revitalize the topic?

We live in the Ainsworth school district, and so have the option of either a "traditional" public education or spanish emersion. I've also been considering entering the Emerson lottery - as there are many qualities that I find appealing in that program. I then just found out today that we may be off the wait list for ChildPeace Montessori....so I'm looking at four completely different educational options and it feels like comparing apples to oranges!

I would love to hear from families who choose on method over the other...and whether they ended up switching and why. I'm less interested in the "merits" of each system, but the results. Does the program create independent, confident, thinkers?


Not to sound disrespectful, but really, your child is going to do fine wherever she is if she is living in a stable, consistent, loving environment with parents who will engage and challenge her.
Too much time and energy is wasted stressing over getting children into the RIGHT placement.
Go with your gut, don't over-think it, and it will work out fine.

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