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Relocating with a preschooler

Many of us can relate to moving to Portland with child in tow. Perhaps you can share so first-hand experiences with Gina?

We are relocating to NW PDX this August with our 4 year old daughter. With a big move, and a new baby coming the same month, I'm worried her world is going to really beturned upside down and I'm desperate to find a nurturing school where the teachers will make her feel welcome, engaged and excited about the big changes in her life. 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? Have any of the UrbanMamas out there moved with a preschooler? What did you do to make their transition easier? I sure appreciate your advice and look forward to getting to Portland!


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In NW portland, I highly recommend Friendly House preschool. It is relaxed and nurturing as well as stimulating. They take walks to the Park and the Library, and they have an indoor gym for rainy days.

Tigard is pretty far from NW Portland.

Congrats! We moved to PDX in May and we're loving it. Our 2yo did much better than our almost-5yo. What I would suggest is getting into some kind of routine right away. Sam missed his friends, his school, and most of all knowing what was coming day to day. Now DH has them in a groove... they run errands in the morning and hit Normandale Park nearly every day at 4pm. Athena started this week at Sunflower House and Sam will start at Wee Works tomorrow. Both of these preschools offer full day care and are in NE near our home.

Parks & Rec has a lot of fun activities for four year olds, from yoga to dance to arts and crafts. That might be fun to check out if you can't get her into a school right away.


I will second the reccomendation for Friendly House preschool. Very caring, well educated staff. They have some subsidized slots too and some sliding scale, which makes it very accesible and also adds to the diversity of kids and families. Good luck!

I'm not sure what area you're moving to but we're in Beaverton & my son will start at Tigard Play School this fall. So far, we've loved everything we've seen & were very impressed with their program. They have a lot of social opportunities this summer with park play dates, etc. so the parents & kids can get to know each other. We looked at others but felt that was best for our son. If you want more info on beaverton-area schools feel free to contact me. Best of luck.

In NW Portland, I highly recommend Friendly House. To me, Friendly House is a perfect community center that serves a diverse community, a variety of ages and backgrounds. I wouldn't have imagined the center to be as diverse as it is. The center has a small library, a computer center, a gym, basketball courts, rec rooms. Programs include classes, open gyms, community events, playgroup, preschool, and summer camps. Philly went to summer camp there last year, for about 6 weeks, and she LOVED it. She can't wait to start again this year. The staff was welcoming and warm. That little stretch of NW Portland is very sweet, quiet, and quaint - with the community center (Friendly House), a great park, Chapman School, cafes, restaurants, markets.

Regarding moving with a preschooler - we moved to Portland when Philly was 2, almost 3. A move can be so inconvenient - we lived out of suitcases during our week-long drive across the country and out of boxes for several days while we tried to get the house unpacked. A few things we did:

- We tried to maintain some semblance of routine: playtime at a playground every day, naptime/quiet time every day, a calm evening before bedtime, making sure we had meals on-time (so easy to forget to eat when you're focused on unpacking!)

- When we arrived in Portland, we tried to unpacked quickly, sure, but we also tried to break-up the unpacking frenzy by taking little breaks to enjoy our new city. Philly would not have been a happy camper if her parents were unpacking 24 hours a day.

- We tried to set up Philly's room first. We wanted her to feel settled amongst her things as soon as possible.

- When the going gets rough (and it sure got rough, with the drive, the moving, and also me being 7 months pregnant!), we tried to go with the flow. Even with our bestest efforts, things didn't go smoothly, and we had to just take deep breaths and go with the flow. When the boxes didn't arrive on time, I tried not to stress about how Philly had to go another day without all her stuff or without her room set up. We just tried to use the extra day to have fun and romp around at Waterfront Park.

- We tried to make it fun... while it's no fun for me to eat take-out for several days in a row, it was a little camp-like adventure eating using upside down boxes as tables and chairs.

Philly had a 'ba-ba' blankie back then, and her security item really helped too. She was comforted as long as she could snuggle up with her blankie. Soon after our move, maybe 2 weeks later, she gave up her blankie, and now her little sister uses it at night.

Good luck with your move!

We are in a similar boat. We will be moving to SE in two weeks. Our two year old, Audrey, was shaken when the movers came to pack up our house and I am worried that when our shipment arrives she will feel the same. Best of luck to you in finding the perfect pre-school!

I don't know anything about Friendly House, but it sounds great, and though the other school sounds good too, making the haul from NW to Tigard sounds like a very stressful way to start life in a new town. I'd choose something closer, in your new community, so that your daughter can start to feel connected to the new place.

We just moved here with our preschooler in February. I recommended visiting the school you are planning to have her attend ahead of time and then start talking to her about the names of the teacher/s and what types of things they do there. For example we started a Waldorf inspired school here so I talked up the fairy,baking,sewing aspect- she is really into all that.
Even though it was different teachers and friends I think that it helped her to know a little bit about it before we got there.
We also made sure that she was not at home when the movers dismantled her room and didn't have to see an empty room/house and my husband traveled with our belongings and set up her room ahead of our arrival as it was in our old house.
We still send letters and emails to her old school friends but she says she really likes her new house and friends now too!
Best of luck to you! I did it with an 8 month old as well but I cannot imagine doing it pregnant! Impressive!

Thanks to all of you for your advice and comments. I'm feeling muchmore prepared to move and to (hopefully) make the transition fun rather than stressful. We just returned home after spending five crazy days in Portland. I met with Gretchen at the Tigard Playschool co-op. She was very helpful and I think the school looks like a really wonderful place. It's too bad that it is so far from where we are renting - I can't see myself making the commute and arriving by 9AM. I also found several other schools that seem like good options - the only problem is that most are full. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed that even though we are far down on several waiting lists, the right opening will come up. In the meantime, I will check
out the Friendly House, sounds like a neat place! Thanks again!

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