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Overlook Collaborative Preschool

1707 N Jarrett St
Portland, OR 97217

(503) 477-4455


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

The Reggio Emilia Approach is based on a philosophy that: * Every child is capable. * Learning happens every moment of every day. * Teachers are co-learners, co-researchers and co-constructors of every child's education. * The environment provides support, flexibility and a calming setting for wondering to happen. The children at OCP are able to explore and wonder openly because they are supported by teachers and an environment that is created just for them. They have an opportunity to take ownership of the school through replenishing the environment. Sorting materials, cleaning up after play and a daily job chart offer some of these opportunities. Offering children the chance to become care takers of the school gives them a sense of ownership and pride.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • cooking and baking
Time & space more

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  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • music playing in background
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
Other subjects taught

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Overlook Collaborative Preschool is a vegan/vegetarian, Reggio Emilia inspired, eco-friendly school.

We have an emergent curriculum. What exactly does this mean? This curriculum is an opportunity for playful inquiry-based learning of the arts and sciences. We (both children and teachers as co-learners) use two basic kinds of inquiry. We seek out information and look for facts, but we also value wondering and playing with possibilities. All children are naturally curious and need to create with all of their senses. The children are in a setting where they know they are welcome to ask questions. These educational moments happen in a encouraging, open setting, and build pathways in the brain by allowing children to be authors of their own world.

Overlook Collaborative Preschool is a vegan school, choosing to use only man-made or natural products. We offer vegan snacks, side dishes and drinks. Snack options may include items like fruits, vegetables, nuts, bread, crackers and treats made at school. Parents are asked to provide the main dish for their child for lunch. We ask that this option be one that is vegan or vegetarian.

A Typical Day

Our schedule is very flexible depending on weather, project work and any interests the children may want to explore. Some days may include field trips and visits to nearby locations.

arrival, welcome, exploration of the school

morning snack

meeting time, discovery time, project work, play activities

group discussion, story time, songs, yoga

lunch time

collect personal items and go outside to play and explore

parents arrive and discuss the day with teachers as children continue outside play


Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Children grow and change at a fast pace during this time of their lives. To keep you up to date on your child all year long please read all daily papers and Newsletters. You can also talk to the OCP teachers at pickup to learn about your child's day.

We hold conferences each year. This is an opportunity for the parents to come into the school and learn what areas their child has grown during their time at the school. We will let you know what your child has accomplished, where they have grown and where we expect to see them grow during the coming year. These are only goals. We understand that children grow at their own pace and honoring the child's individual qualities is our highest priority. You will also learn how we are able to reach these goals through an environment of play. We understand that teaching through play helps the child learn and retain information longer.


Handling Separation: From the Director

We know that redirection can help a child throughout this transition period. We will help the child go to the window to wave good-bye and blow kisses to the parent who is leaving. You will also notice the calm comforting voice of the teacher may never be louder than a whisper. The teacher will help the child by offering a hug or a story read on a teacher's lap. This closeness is needed to help a child feel supported. Often a child will ask for the same teacher to wave with when the parent goes. This becomes a routine for the child, and comfort comes from knowing what to expect next.