7 posts categorized "Preschool Montessori "

Preschools, like Puddletown, often looking for a home

June 30, 2010

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?

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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?

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?

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.

Childpeace, Emerson, .... Thoughts?

April 26, 2006

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!

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!

Kaiel Montessori

January 29, 2005

4536 SE Brooklyn
Portland, OR