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If you are wondering how to find the best Portland area school for your child, we’ve got you covered! Follow a step-by-step process created by two Portland moms who have gone through it themselves and want to give you the scoop on how it all works.

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Entries in Portland Village School (1)


Option 3: Non-Traditional Schools

Most of us take for granted that school is the way it is, the way it’s always been - but does that mean the standard school is ideal for your kid? Once you start peeling away the onion layers and looking at the roots of traditional education, your mind may start to shift. To get a sense of how traditional schools were designed and thus how you might want to stray from that model when it comes to your child, I highly recommend this short visual lecture by Ken Robinson (worth the 12 minutes, I promise). If his talk inspires you to consider some type of non-traditional school, you will have plenty of possibilities in Portland.

Whether you’re looking at public or private schools, options in both of those camps include schools that don’t follow the mainstream approach. They may use a century-old method like Waldorf/Steiner or Montessori; or they may be some amalgam of “tried & true” and their own unique approach. The latter also tend to utilize collaborative, project-based, and experiential learning, with examples around town such as Renaissance, Emerson, The Living School, and others somewhere on the spectrum. But no matter which of these less-traditional paths you might choose to follow, the challenges and rewards tend to be similar. Based on dozens of conversations over the past few years, along with my own research and experience as a Montessori mom, I’ll lay out the pros and cons of these non-traditional approaches in a broad-strokes way. But it bears repeating that every school is different (even within the same method – e.g. Waldorf) and your assessment of a particular school requires diligent investigation!

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