Multnomah Arts Center’s
- About Little Artists Preschool
- Teachers, Class Schedule and Activities
- Environment, Stations and Their Purpose
- Class Offerings and Fees
- Our School Year and Calendar
- Eligibility and Registration
- Tuition, Payment and Withdrawal
- Pick-Up and Drop-Off
- Parent – Teacher Communication
- Clothing and Extras Bag, Toilet Training
- Illness (Student)
- Illness (Teacher)
- Discipline Policy
- Allergies and Medications, Incidents and Accidents
- Inclement Weather
- Birthday and Holidays
- Field Trips
- Observations and Parent Visits
- Contact Information
“The arts humanize the curriculum while affirming the interconnectedness of all forms of knowing. They are a powerful means to improve general education.”
Little Artists Preschool (LA P) is a program of the Multnomah Arts Center (MAC), a Portland Parks and Recreation program. For almost 40 years, MAC has been providing high quality arts instruction and participation in the performing and visual arts to all interested persons, regardless of age, race, religion, ethnic origin, financial means or level of ability. Enrolling your child in LA P means placing him or her in a nurturing arts community that will serve throughout his or her life. Through its program offerings MAC provides a lifetime of learning opportunities, connections
with community and culture, and professional artist development.
The Little Artists Preschool was proudly introduced as Multnomah Arts Center’s educational preschool in the Fall of 2012. LA P provides arts-focused early childhood education for ages 2, 3 and 4.
MAC’s Director, Youth Arts Director, and Early childhood educators collaborate to create a curriculum that encompasses visual arts, music, dance and theatre. These four forms will act as conduits for exploration. LA P instructors will introduce independent artistic forms as well as bring various forms together into a unified experience.
Little Artists Preschool is a safe place for your child to learn, create and play. In addition to the physical space functioning as a working arts studio, instructors act as role models and lead by example to teach students the importance of art in our lives. The children practice simple artistic concepts that foster and provoke creative expression and discovery.
Our teaching philosophy is children learn through creative play. Little Artists Preschool uses a creative, arts-based teaching structure to bring out a child’s natural interest in learning. The arts allow children to think creatively, to build their own ideas, to solve problems in more than one way, and to try new things. Rather than follow directions to construct prescribed products, we focus on each child’s process. Children in our program will learn to trust their own creative impulses while being supported by professional educators with strong arts backgrounds. In addition to academics, the learning through creative play philosophy helps children build a strong social foundation for their future. Teachers place a strong emphasis on indirect instruction, which opens up young minds to independent thinking and creativity. Instructors foster imagination and keep children engaged using a variety of stimuli, with each of the five senses carefully considered in lesson planning. With our smaller ratios, teachers are able to accommodate multiple styles of learning; each child is allowed to learn, create and discover at his or her own pace. We strongly believe that arts education is fundamental to the development of a healthy, happy and engaged mind.
- Children learn by using their senses and the arts are ideal in this process.
- Creative play is how children experience their world and bring meaning to it. It models a social framework that builds relationships for life and kindles imagination.
- The arts build a strong feeling of community.
- The arts nurture inventiveness as they engage children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, self-motivation.
- Creative play is health promoting. Through it, children build strength, increase coordination and improve their emotional health.
- Creative play stimulates the healthy development of children’s brains.
- Creative play allows children to acquire competence and skills that help them feel good about themselves.
- Creative play provides the opportunity to learn essential social skills: to take turns, to share, and to cooperate.
- Creative play helps children develop friendships and interpersonal skills, essential
to children’s lifelong success.
Little Artist’s classroom leaders are dedicated educators with strong arts training.
Class generally follows the same sequence each day for consistency. When children can rely on knowing what comes next, transitions are smoother and students are able to get the most out of each day. While the order of the day is something children can learn to expect, the length of time in each activity may vary. Specific lessons provide ample educational opportunities. Therefore, we can be flexible and allow extra time on certain occasions, or we may transition from one activity to the next sooner than originally anticipated.
Example of a daily schedule for the morning 3’s class:
9:00 Check-in and Hello
9:10 Open Arts Experience
9:50 Circle Time (music, theatre and dance)
10:30 Clean Up
11:00 Outside Time
The Little Artists Preschool is housed at Multnomah Arts Center in the heart of Multnomah Village. Our classrooms are warm, comfortable, cheerful spaces with lots of color and natural light. The spaces offer important safety features such as a child’s size toilet and sink. The cottages are enclosed by a gated and fenced courtyard. The courtyard incorporates loose elements from nature to foster creative, imaginative play. Here we create an outdoor art space and Community Garden plot. LAP’s 3’s and 4’s students visit and tend to their organic garden throughout the year, weather permitting.
Our daily schedule includes a block of time each day when children may choose an activity from a number of developmentally appropriate options selected by the teacher. We have learning centers which are clearly defined areas with equipment, materials and supplies that promote children’s developmental growth. During free-choice time, some students might create works of art or build structures with blocks. Others may play at a sensory table, or look at books in the story corner. Children freely move around the room, selecting the play that interests them. Teachers also move about the room, using this time as an opportunity to teach children about safety, talk about the materials they are using, aid students in socializing with one another, and build relationships with them on a more personal level. When they are ready to move on to something else, the instructors teach the children to put items back where they belong.With an understanding of where each child is developmentally, teachers will intervene when appropriate to facilitate learning, help children extend their play, and provide necessary support and guidance.
The stations include:
Dramatic Play: Life is a stage. Teachers set up dramatic play to encourage social skills and role playing while also learning a variety of other skills.
Visual Art: Materials will vary and include crayons, chalk, markers, colored pencils,paints, clay, different textures of papers, fabrics and yarn, food coloring, collage materials, and much more. Children are encouraged to express themselves creatively rather than produce a defined object as directed by teachers.
Music: Children sing, listen, learn new songs, play instruments, explore rhythms and discover the sounds of different combinations of sound. Instructors create and teach new songs on a regular basis to introduce the child to making music part of everyday life.
Dance: Creative movement offers a range of experiences that facilitate natural, easy play, proper development of alignment and neurological coordination. Ample opportunity to hop, bound, run, dive, leap, jump, turn, kick, and stretch.
Group Activities: This includes daily circle time, storytelling, finger plays, songs, and walks. Group activities encourage social skills such as turn-taking, cooperation, reciprocal language skills, sharing, empathy, as well as cognitive development.
Science/Nature: Science is explored all through the day in a multitude of ways. Children may engage in a cooking activity, take a nature walk, or plant a seed. We have materials such as magnets, magnifying glasses, shells, and rocks and sometimes even live creatures such as fish, frogs, butterfly habitats etc. for daily exploration!
Math: Goals for math include shape recognition, object matching, counting, and categorizing and sorting, quantitative skills and sequencing. We achieve these goals through music, calendar, puzzles, blocks, pattern blocks, beads, and much more.
Sensory Experiences: These activities are important for the enhancement of the senses, so crucial for complete child development. We explore textures, foods, smells, sounds, and sights.
Literacy Center/Language Development: Through daily stories, songs, finger plays, as well as conversational interactions, we support language development. Additionally, our classrooms have a writing center that is available for children to explore written words and names.
Physical Development: Gross motor development is supported through dance, walks on the MAC campus, climbing on playground structures, yoga, and creative movement in MAC’s dance studio. Fine motor activities develop hand-eye coordination and finger-hand muscle strength. We support this through art, writing, and manipulative materials such as peg boards, lacing cards, and puzzles.
Social/Emotional Development: Children need to feel a sense of who they are and their place in the world. We work on building a sense of self-esteem through positive reinforcement and encouragement for children to accept new challenges. Children develop lasting friendships through play and learning experiences provided by the teachers.
Preschool for Little Ones—Age 2
Play is the essential work of childhood, worthy of respect and encouragement. Curriculum includes stories, games and songs providing playful interaction while setting the stage for exploration, socialization and fostering a positive self-concept.
Creative play in a supportive environment is important to a child’s positive overall development. Make friends playing, painting, singing and sharing. Provides structured time during early childhood to enhance physical, mental, emotional and social growth and development.
Make new connections developing social and emotional skills! Opportunities for discovery, exploration and socialization foster a positive self-concept. Through activities including ABC’s, arts, numbers, games, stories, songs and themes, build
self-confidence, independence and creative thinking.
Little Artists Preschool follows Portland Public School’s holiday closure calendar with exceptions at the beginning and end of the school year. Please see our LA P calendar for specific information.
Whether you live in the City of Portland or not, all children meeting the age requirements are eligible to enroll. For each class, the student must be 2, 3, or 4 on or before September 1st of the school year. Children must be potty trained. Limited need-based scholarships are available. Contact MAC’sYouth Arts Director at 503-823-2282 for further details.
During the school year, we gladly welcome new students in our currently running classes provided there is space available and the child turned 2, 3, or 4 on or before September 1st. Contact MAC’s Youth Arts Director at 503-823-2282 for availability and to register.
Families with children currently in our program will have first opportunity to re-enroll and register any siblings that are age-eligible.
For new families, the upcoming school year will be available for registration at Open Enrollment, typically held in March.
Registration is taken on a first-come first-served basis. A registration fee is required for the registration to be accepted. The registration fee will only be processed if space is available. A waitlist will be started once a class fills.
A non-refundable application fee applies to each child registered each year. Tuition is the same dollar amount each month through holidays, breaks, and combined months at the start and end of the year. Tuition is not prorated for family vacations, student illness, or other extended leaves.
Starting School Year 2013/14—The first tuition payment for the school year is due on or before July 31st. This payment covers September classes.
All remaining tuition payments are due the 15th of each month; September 15th for October’s classes, October 15th for November’s classes, and so on. The last payment is April 15th which covers May classes.
There is an approximate 2-week grace period for tuition payment between the 15th of the month and the end of the month. A $25 late fee will apply effective the 1st of the month if tuition has not been received.
For your convenience, we encourage you to enroll in our auto-debit option. MAC does not send invoices or emails when payment is due. Please mark your calendars as a reminder to submit payment between the 15th and the end of the month, or enroll in auto-debit, to avoid late fees.
In the event that you need to withdraw your child from the program, the remainder of the month will be prorated and refunded for any classes he or she will not attend. We require 3 business days notice. We hope none of our students withdraw, but schedules change and people move—we understand! We’d miss you very much and would hope to see you around for other classes, camps, or events throughout the year.
Children must be signed in and out each day by a parent or another approved caregiver noted on your registration paperwork.
It is normal for some children to have difficulty separating from parents or cry when dropping off. Please make your drop off brief: the longer you prolong the departure, the harder it gets. Children are nearly always quick to get involved in play or activities as soon as parents are gone.
Missing School—Please call and let your child’s teacher know that you will miss class.
Late Drop-Off—Please call and let your child’s teacher know that you will be late to class.
Early Pick-Up—Please let your child’s teacher know in advance that you plan to pick your child up early from preschool. This allows the teacher and child to adjust to accordingly.
You will be contacted for verification if someone other than you or those noted on your paperwork arrive to pick up your child. If we can not reach you, your child will not be released. Please make sure your paperwork is current, or phone us before pick up to notify the teacher of your needs for the day.
In case of an emergency when you are not able to arrive on time for pick-up, please contact the front desk at 503-823-2787 as soon as possible so they can let the teacher know what time you expect to arrive. There is a 5 minute grace period before a child is considered picked up late. Late pick-ups may result in $1/minute charges to cover extended supervision of the child.
Regular communication with your child’s teacher is essential to a successful preschool experience. The child benefits most when both the teacher and parents make their best efforts to have open communication with one another. A quick ‘hello’ when dropping your child off or picking them up gives both parties an opportunity to have a short chat or schedule a time to meet, etc. Newsletters will be a tool the teachers use to update all families on themes, field trips, requests for recycled goods, etc. We would love to hear how your child is doing at home and we are always happy to let you know the progress your child is making in class! Parent/teacher conferences are held twice per year. These conferences are a great time to get to know more about your child in the classroom setting, where they are developmentally, and how you and the teacher can work together to achieve what is best for your child.
We encourage families to bring children to school in clothing that is comfortable and ready for mess! We have lots of outdoor time and creative projects planned that include paint, markers, glue, glitter, dirt, bugs, clay, water and anything else our resourceful teachers can get their hands on! At the start of the school year, please bring an “extras” bag to leave at school that is labeled with your child’s name and includes a complete set of clothing (shirt, pants, socks, underwear). Consider packing clothes that are on the larger side so they fit as your child grows throughout the year. Accidents, messy art, and mud happen!
Children need to be fully toilet trained and wearing underwear or pull-ups. Each child will be allowed to go to the bathroom individually as needed in addition to the planned visit to the bathroom to clean up before snack. Toilet training will not be a function of the preschool. We do understand that young children may have occasional accidents at the beginning of school. Please have “extras bag” with clothing available in case of emergencies. Parents will be called if necessary.
Please pack a healthy and nutritious snack for your child to bring to class each day.
MAC’s Little Artists Preschool is a PEANUT FREE ZONE; for our friends that have severe allergies, do not bring any products that contain peanuts. A list of peanut-free foods is available; ask the MAC’s Youth Arts Director for this handy list. Any foods that may contain peanuts (or other nuts of there is a sever allergy among the students) will be sent home to be eaten offsite. Thank you in advance.
If your child is ill, please help speed recovery and limit the spread of disease by keeping him or her home from school. If your child will not be attending class, please contact Multnomah Arts Center and a message will be given to the instructors. Should your child contract head lice, fifth disease, or any other contagious condition, please contact MAC’s Youth Arts Director at 503-823-2282 as soon as possible to allow us to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of disease.
If a student becomes ill during class (vomiting, develops a fever) we will contact parents/caregivers to pick the child up from school.
We understand these and other illnesses are very common in children this age. Please feel confident knowing that your privacy will be protected and that any health or personal matters will be handled professionally and discreetly while we work towards reducing the possibility of spreading a virus.
MAC does not credit accounts for classes missed due to illness.
The illness policy for public schools in Oregon, provided by the Oregon Health Department:
Please keep children home from school and child care if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Fever greater than 100.5 °F
- Stiff neck or headache with fever
- Any rash with or without fever
- Unusual behavior change, such as irritability, lethargy or somnolence
- Jaundice (yellow color of skin or eyes)
- Diarrhea (3 watery or loose stools in one day with or without fever)
- Skin lesions that are “weepy” (fluid- or pus-filled)
- Colored drainage from eyes
- Brown/green drainage from nose with fever of greater than 100.5 °F
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; serious, sustained cough
- Symptoms or complaints that prevent the child from participating in his/her usual activities such as persistent cough, with or without presence of fever
- Child requires more care than the school/child care staff can safely provide
Only a licensed health care provider can determine a diagnosis, prescribe treatment and provide instructions regarding the child’s return to school/child care.
Should any of our instructors become ill, safety is our first priority and we will be doing our part to prevent the spread of disease. A substitute teacher will be arranged so that the impact is minimal for our families who rely on us to be here every day. In most cases, if the Lead teacher is out ill, the Aide will lead the class in their absence, with a Multnomah Arts Center instructor or staff member filling in as the Aide. All Portland Parks and Recreation employees have passed criminal background checks and are checked annually as a condition of employment. Your children are in good hands at Multnomah Arts Center! If MAC is unable to hold class due to lack of securing a substitute, you will be notified with as much advance notice as possible and credited for any classes missed.
Discipline means an ongoing process of helping children develop inner control so that they can manage their own behavior in a socially appropriate manner.
Little Artists Preschool policy states that there will be no physical or emotional punishment such as hitting, shaking, pushing, pinching, threats, sarcasm, prolonged isolation, denial of food, or derogatory remarks about the child or the family. Children will be spoken to in a calm manner. Children may need guidance to “sit and watch” for a short period of time, followed by some conversation with a teacher. Parents will be notified of serious behavior problems.
Per Oregon State Law, all children attending public schools, preschools, and childcare must be up-to-date with immunizations or have a signed medical or religious exemption. At entry into the program, the immunization form must be completed and turned in along with the registration and emergency medical forms.
We will review each child’s record in November/December and notify families of any necessary updates with plenty of time to make an appointment with their doctor or clinic. Oregon State mandates that we order school exclusions for children that do not have current immunizations at their established deadline (usually in February). Please contact MAC’s Youth Arts Director Aimé Kelly, at or 503-823-2282 with any questions.
If your child has severe allergies, may need to use an epi-pen, or needs to take medicine while at school, please make arrangements with MAC’s Youth Arts Director Aimé Kelly, at or 503-823-2282 upon enrolling. There are additional forms to fill out (Food Action Allergy Plan, Medication Administration Form) and a few policies to cover. Please know we are very familiar with these needs and will make every effort to ensure that your privacy is protected and that your child avoids any potential complications due to allergies or medication requirements. Safety first!
Teachers fill out a ‘Bumps and Bruises’ form when a child incurs a minor injury. Minor injuries may include falling and scraping a knee, a sliver in a finger from playing outside, bumping into another child during physical activities and getting a bump or bruise as a result. The ‘Bumps and Bruises’ form will be completed, a copy will be given to the parent/caregiver picking the child up and one will go to MAC’s Youth Arts Director.
All staff are 1st Aid/CPR certified. Portland Parks and Recreation employees are only allowed to help a child wash minor injuries with warm soap and water and apply a band aid. We are not permitted to apply any topical ointments or remove slivers with tweezers, etc.
For injuries that involve blood spills, may require stitches, a possible fracture, a suspected head injury, or any situation needing expert medical attention, you will be contacted immediately and will be asked to pick up your child for evaluation. Please make sure we have the best phone number on hand to reach you at a moment’s notice.
On your registration form there is a section to refuse medical transport; please make this known to your child’s teacher if this is your preference should we ever call 9-1-1.
Multnomah Arts Center follows the Portland Public Schools inclement weather policy. If PPS is closed, preschool class will not be held. If PPS has a late opening, only morning classes are canceled; afternoon classes WILL be in session.
Please check www.flashalertportland.net for up-to-the-minute closure information (local news and radio stations have info, though not immediate).
IMPORTANT: Please be sure to find out what the west-side schools are doing, as we follow west side closures when east and west are different.
If there is inclement weather when PPS is NOT in regular session (i.e. Winter Break), please call the center at 503-823-2787 and listen to our voicemail. The building Director will update the message by 8am (or earlier) with any program cancellations.
MAC will credit accounts for school closures due to inclement weather.
If your child would like to celebrate a birthday with classmates, healthy store-bought snacks may be brought to share at snack time (Please view the list of acceptable healthy snacks available from your teacher). Please make birthday treats alike so there are no tears about what flavor, decoration, etc. As an alternative to snack sharing as a means of celebration, we encourage a show and tell celebration. Bring in your child’s favorite book, family photos or something else of meaning.
If your child has a summer birthday, we could celebrate a “half-birthday” or celebrate at some other time during the year. Please let us know if you would like to do this. Invitations to parties will not be distributed at school unless the entire class is invited.
We celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day in the preschool classes. We do not celebrate religious holidays. In conversation children will talk about holidays they celebrate at home. During the course of the year, you may wish to share a “family tradition” with the class. Please make arrangements with the teachers so that this can be included in the class plans.
The Little Artists Preschool takes 2 or more field trips during the school year. Each year is different; teachers may decide upon a variety of destinations in and around Portland. There will be an agenda for the trip and a lesson plan that follows the excursion. The instructor will inform you of upcoming field trips.
Permission slips for each child are required. Carpool arrangements must be made between parents; teachers are not liable for the transportation arrangements of children to/from off-site destinations. Staff may not transport children in their personal vehicles. Families may opt-out on field trip days. Credit is not applied to accounts when opting-out of class due to field trips. Admission fees are usually offered at a discounted rate for school groups. Please see your child’s teacher for any admission fees due.
If you are interested in observing a class, please contact MAC’s Youth Arts Director Aimé Kelly, at or 503-823-2282 to make arrangements. By booking your date, we avoid double booking with another prospective family.
Parent volunteering is not required. Chaperones may be needed for field trips or perhaps special events. If you have a special skill or talent and you are interested in sharing with the class, especially if it relates to arts education, please let your child’s teacher know! Your teacher will let you know how we can incorporate it into a lesson or if your skill may benefit the program’s pursuit of transforming the courtyard into a more natural play area for the children. Thank you for your interest!
Please visit the Volunteering section of our website or the MAC office to acquire the volunteer packet.
In the interest of being Green, we would love to accept your donations! MAC has very limited space for storage; therefore items donated would need to be an amount that would be used within a short period of time. For classroom equipment such as toys or furniture, please contact the Youth Art Director at 503-823-2282 to find out what MAC can accept. In general, items that will be considered are safe, non-commercial (not affiliated with any brand, i.e. Disney), age appropriate, and in like-new condition.
Throughout the year, Little Artists Preschool students will create a wonderful variety of performance pieces and art projects related to the themes and topics we will be studying.
Here is a wish list of just some of the supplies and support items we need:
Carpet sweeper, Hand held vacuum, Child-sized rakes and brooms, Metal bowls, pans, cookie sheets, lids, 1-2” Plastic tubing, PVC pipes, Wooden spoons, Hanging plant baskets, Outdoor thermometer, Buckets, Wood scraps, Corks, Wire, Lids: plastic/metal (all sizes), Large beads, Clip boards, Floor pillows, Chalkboard eraser, Nut butter (no peanut, please), Painters tape, Binoculars, Animal figures, People figures, Large Ziploc baggies, Tractor tire (for outdoor recreation)
General donation information can be found here.
“Art is a major path to knowledge.”
Leonardo da Vinci