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Portland Waldorf School
December 3, 2007  |  Parks Playgrounds Pools
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What’s to Love: I will admit my bias right off the bat – I love Waldorf education, and the Portland Waldorf classrooms are incredibly warm and charming. If you’re thinking of Waldorf edcation, touring this school in Milwaukie is absolutely mandatory! It’s really something to behold.

My goal here is not to sell you on Waldorf education or this particular school. I do want to sell you on the quality of the playground! Wow! If you haven’t been there yet with your kids, you should definitely make a trip over during a summer evening. All the equipment is practically brand new, there is plenty of room for frisbee or a soccer game, and they have a stream with a bridge leading to some areas for toddlers and kindergarten/pre-k kids. The grounds are well maintained, and it’s obvious that the someone is doing a lot of work to keep this place in tip-top-shape.

What makes this playground an absolute must is one specific play structure, which I often refer to as “the giant spider web.” Unfortunately, I do not have a picture…sorry. I will get one soon. The web is made out of rope in the shape of a very large teepee. The center pole has to be at least 12-15 feet high, which makes me a bit nervous when my son is climbing up there. The best part – this entire roped, web-structure is dynamic, meaning it bounces when you’re climbing on it. I think it’s one of the best play structures for children, especially kids who like to climb.  Here is a video of the structure!

Caveats: Of course, you’re on private property when you’re using their play structure. Please be respectful and responsible while you’re a visitor. As of right now, it’s still an open-campus, and people are able to use the grounds; however, that can quickly change by visitors’ bad manners and irresponsible behavior.

The web is not for young children. During a Waldorf function the teachers were only allowing kids in 6th grade or higher on to climb. Before this warning, my son, who at the time was 2 1/2, had a field day on the web. He is a climber, and he was quickly on his way to the top. I followed him around, and/or generally stayed below him just in case he fell. I recommend the same for you and your kids. Kids can get very high, very fast, and if they were to fall from near the top, they could injure themselves.

Website: Portland Waldorf School

Distance from Portland: The school is about 10 miles from downtown Portland.

Recommended Ages: The playground has structures suitable for all age groups. Again, I don’t recommend the bouncing web for kids under 6th grade; unless of course, they are accompanied by an adult who will keep a VERY close eye on their child.

Parental Stress Factor: Medium to High – when your toddler or pre-schooler sets eyes on the bouncing web, they are going to want to get on it immediately. It’s so much fun! However, at that age, it will definitely cause you quite a bit of stress – that is, if you’re concerned about the physical well being of your kids. Please be careful and exercise caution. If you’re safe with your kids, they will love this playground.

Physical Difficulty: It’s a challenging playground, and the web will give parents a good workout!

Family Fun Factor: Medium to High – This is a fantastic playground, and the whole family will have fun!

Pet Friendly: Sure, but please be responsible with your dogs.

Weather Considerations: Generally a fair-weather outing.

Insider Info: I really like to hang upside down without a lot of stress on my ankles or knees. The bouncing web provides the perfect opportunity to hook your feet and take some pressure off your spine.

I cannot speak highly enough about the classrooms in this building. The primary grades look like someone opened up a storybook and created a classroom to scale.

The school offers opportunities for your pre-kindergarten child to visit the kindergarten classroom. Again, contact the school for more information.

Family Tips: If you’re considering Waldorf education, try to attend a parent night (call for information). The teachers all give short talks about what happens during their respective grades. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to tour the classrooms and even talk to some kids.

Check their calendar for school-wide events. Waldorf has many important traditions, and they are all celebrated. The May Day celebration is what is pictures in some of the photos in this section. These events will inspire you to look into Waldorf education.

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