Cedar Hills Kindergarten & Preschool is located in Portland, OR. It is a private, early childhood program/day care center school that serves 20 students in grades PK,K. Cedar Hills Kindergarten & Preschool is coed (school has male and female students) and is nonsectarian in orientation. The school belongs to the Other special emphasis association(s).
ddhammon: A father's perspective: I *LOVE* this school.
First, I should tell you, I am a logic-driven, relatively stoic, engineer/computer geek and not a particularly touchy-feely kind of person. While I have always had an active role in parenting my two small children, my wife and I generally follow the classic gender roles – my wife is the primary care giver and I am the go-to disciplinarian. Given this context…
I am now a complete convert to the parent-teacher cooperative learning philosophy. While my wife does most of the parent teaching, I can honestly say that I look forward to the opportunities that I have to do so. I love being able to see my children interacting with other children, with the teacher, and with the other parent teachers, seeing a whole different aspect of my children’s personalities. I love being an active participant in all of the children's learning (and being at such a young age, their enthusiasm and wonderment is so refreshing). I love knowing that by being a part of a cooperative, I am part of that proverbial village that helps raise these well-balanced, wonderful children. I love that we have met other parents that I can totally see being a part of our lives for years, even decades, in to the future. It isn’t just my children who may have made lifelong friends here.
A big surprise for me was that I never expected that I would develop an emotional connection to my children's preschool, but I definitely have. That connection has been built by spending time getting to know the other children in the school, by getting to know the other parents through parent teaching and through the community-building activities at the school, and by getting to know the teachers.
The teachers: when we entered the school with our 3 year old, we were amazed by Lora, the threes teacher. She was warm and friendly and went out of her way to ensure my daughter was comfortable in her first experience with school. Lora gets down at their eye level and speaks to them in that soft yet firm voice, with such patience (ohhh, the patience!), and she sings and plays the banjo... it was just amazing. For my daughter, it was such an important first impression with school, and my daughter was hooked!
The next year, we moved up to fours with Linda. The veteran parents assured us that we were going to be really impressed, but I was skeptical after our experience with Lora – how much better could it get? But they were right. Since the kids were a year older and more developmentally advanced, Linda added more organization and structure to their day. Linda was still kind and gentle, but she raised the bar, making it clear that she expects age-appropriate behaviors from the children. It was in the fours where we really started using the conflict resolution process we had been taught (more on that below). It was also in the fours where I realized my little baby wasn't really a baby anymore, and Linda was instrumental in helping my daughter along that progression. I loved it and hated it at the same time.
This year, Lora and Linda both moved up a "grade" and Katrina started as the threes teacher, just in time for my son to start in her class. Katrina brought a whole new dimension to the school. Katrina's enthusiasm and energy are off the charts. Her ability to make each child feel like they are her favorite student and that they are the whole reason she is on this planet - I struggle for words to describe it. While I learned so much about *how* to be a better parent from Lora and Linda, Katrina, by her example, inspired me to *want* to be a better parent.
I must mention how the school has changed me. Besides being inspired by the teachers, I have learned so much. One of the foundational concepts the school teaches the children and the parents is conflict resolution. While it takes some practice to really internalize them, the simple steps are so powerful and effective, it seems like something they should hand parents at the hospital when their children are born. The diversity to which my children and I have been exposed, from different cultures to socio-economic backgrounds to differing (dis)abilities, makes us all more understanding and tolerant of our differences. I have also learned about other approaches to child-rearing; my wife and I have both taken bits of this and bits of that from the other parents and no doubt our children will be the better for it. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned about the value of play-based education for young children. Learning *should* be fun, and at Cedar Hills Kindergarten and Preschool, it is.
The last thing I want to mention in my overly verbose "summary" is how, three years ago when we were picking a preschool for our children, I basically told my wife: “Just pick something relatively inexpensive since they are all probably about the same.” I could not have been more wrong. I absolutely would send my children here even if the price was doubled. If what you are looking for is a drop-and-go “daycare”, this is not the best place for you. But if what I describe above speaks to you, then I encourage you to consider CHKP. My family and I are so thankful we did.
Jennifer: Cedar Hills Kindergarten and Preschool is full of interested caring parents and children, all focused on helping create the best possible early education experience for their children. This school is just what I was looking for in a cooperative.
by a Parent
on Sep 23, 2010
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