Our kids have gone to the Village School since 2011. We've had a very good experience, in terms of super dedicated teachers and staff. There is a warm community feeling, and lots of parent involvement. Drawbacks would be 1) the lack of a green space and dedicated playground (the students have a small play structure adjacent to the parking lot (which is where they have recess) with just a few basketball hoops, and 2) lack of significant ethnic/racial diversity - the school is largely European-American / Caucasian families. Otherwise, there is a full and enriching curriculum, and even electives for the middle school grades.
My son transferred here from another PPS, and we have been very happy with our choice. His teacher is intelligent, creative, and endlessly patient. I love how art, nature, and storytelling are incorporated into all the subjects. The campus is not impressive, but the classrooms are decorated beautifully and feel extremely welcoming.
We are in our second year here and are delighted to be a part of the Portland Village School! I am a mother to three young daughters (-2 of which are presently at the school-), a strong proponent of Waldorf, and an educator. For me personally, the Portland Village School is the perfect synthesis of Waldorf and public education: wonderfully rich and engaging. It is essentially a Waldorf-methods public charter school that offers a wholly arts-integrated curriculum, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese languages to all students, Handwork, Folkdancing, Verse work, real tasks and adventures together, service projects, beautiful seasonal celebrations in the community, a very dedicated staff, a no-media (on school days)-environment, and a looping policy that helps to establish a true sense of community and requires that we all work to be together. Parents have ample opportunity to become involved, as volunteers are constantly buzzing around with meaningful tasks for our children. I look forward to our unfolding here as the school expands and makes its mark on this great city of Portland!!!
I greatly appreciate this approach to education, where the whole health of the children are considered. The intellectual, emotional and physical health are encouraged and supported. I have two children at Portland Village School, my oldest is in his third year at the school. Being with the same teacher from 1st-4th grade and then 5th-8th grade makes their life so much easier with less disruption than if they had a new teacher every year. I love that my children have art as well as Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language lessons. It's also nice to be in an environment where screen time and media exposure are minimized, the students are so creative themselves and it's amazing to see what they come up with when left with their own imaginations and the support of people who truly care for them.
I have to admite that I am one of those parents that is most concerned about the overall happiness of my child at school. I happen to believe that children have an innate curiosity about the way the world works and parents need to foster a love of learning over rigid academics as the only path to knowledge. That said, academically one of my children is advanced, while the other struggles, and both LOVE school. My daughters teacher offered to stay after school several days a week to tutor students, and some students stayed as peer tutors because it was such a warm environment. I agree that ethnic diversity is lacking, and the school admin. are working to promote enrollment from other demographics. On one hand, I want to keep the school a secret so It can stay small a cozy, but I can't keep such a wealth of educational gold to myself.
We LOVE this school. If you want your child to be an independent and creative thinker, value interaction with the natural world, learn to self regulate, focus, and care for others this is a wonderful educational option...along with rich academics as they move into the higher grades. Worldorf curriculum encompasses a broad historical base and classical education beginning with helpers of humanities, the ancient Hebrews, ancient Greece, the Rennaisance etc. It is well worth checking out. Also- in the years we have attended no one has ever tried to tell us where or where not we could attend a birthday party! My kids relate well to ALL types of children within and without of the Waldorf community....in the end kids are kids...and Waldorf certainly allows and encourages children to be children...
The parent reviews sum up this school well. For those that value alternative Waldorf methods and community, no homework, do not mind the no media at school and home policy (no TV, Movies, computers and images on clothing/lunchboxes/backpacks), this is a great school. For those that value academics, discipline, learning about technology, and enabling your child to have things in common with and be comfortable relating to kids outside the small Waldorf community, this is not the school for you. For example of the latter, attending a friend's birthday party at Chuck'E'Cheezes is not in keeping with the School's Waldorf methods. Also, be sure to check the School's report card on the Oregon Department of Education Website. I found the School's performance claims to be inaccurate.
We are very happy at PVS. It's a new school, and there are still challenges to be expected at a new school (parking, space, discipline, creating policies, etc). What matters most is that my children are learning and thriving in a Waldorf inspired environment. My older son started at a more traditional school, but is so much more comfortable at PVS. My younger son has known nothing else. Classrooms are lovely, attention is paid to how kids treat each other. No commercial images or "movie talk" is allowed. No computers on site. Learning is thoughtful- not just endless piles of worksheets. They are on track with their grade levels. They are learning fractions though music, multiplication through stories and song. Their main lesson books are beautiful. Give PVS a chance if you are flexible, believe in Waldorf education, want a slower approach than is offered in a tradtional school, and can stand the growing pains of a new school.
I don't really understand where some of the previous negative reviews are coming from- and seem to me to be cases of individuals who did not fit well with their teacher or the school. I have been pleased with the organization of the school and have never before received such constant and consistent communication in any other school setting. In fact they have a committee which meets to specifically address communication. Look at the website for evidence of this- and read the monthly newsletter~ and in terms of diversity the school makes every effort to prioritize this. One only needs to look at the various celebrations within the school year to see evidence of this- starting with the lantern walk in late October for Diwali. My child is gifted and has done extremely well at PVS. She is curious about everything accross subjects. I would tell prospective parents who are interested in PVS and Waldorf to come and see the school themselves when there are classes in session- and kids engaged in learning- talk to teachers and administrators- and parents- then make your mind up. As I said- we've been thrilled!
Portland Village School is a still-young, but firmly established free public charter school which has adapted the Waldorf curriculum and teaching methods to the needs of a public school community. We are inspired by the demonstrated success of the Eugene Village School, the Alice Birney School, The Urban Waldorf School, and many other public Waldorf-methods programs serving diverse populations. Waitlists for most of our classes demonstrate the strong demand for this kind of program in Portland. Our core academic program engages children in all subjects using art, music, movement, and direct presentation of lesson materials. The effectiveness of our approach is evidenced by PVS students performing above district and state averages on the required standardized tests. In addition to a rich core curriculum, Children learn Chinese and Spanish from native speakers several times a week, learn folk dances from around the world, create handmade crafts of increasing complexity, and study both vocal and instrumental music. PVS fosters a love of learning in a nurturing environment which values the education of the class as a community equally with the individual. We welcome your visit!