“Learning is the emergence of that which was not there before. It is a search for the self as well as for the other and others that surround each individual.”

-Carla Rinaldi

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Tulip Tree Preschool is a state-certified Reggio-inspired toddler and preschool program, for children ages 12 months – 5 yrs. We have two separate houses- the Elm House for toddlers ages 12 months to 3.5 years; and the Preschool House for preschool children 3.5-5. The preschool house is open from 8:30-4:30  Monday through Friday. The Elm House is open from 8-5 Monday through Friday.


Kids at Tulip Tree Preschool in PortlandWe provide a learning environment that is play-based, child-led, and project-oriented. Our curriculum, which is inspired by the work (play) of the children, is organized by the teachers, and is rooted in the common values of Anti-Bias Education, The Hundred Languages of Children, and the Natural World.

Play is important work. Children use play to test ideas, try on roles, and magnify the world around them. Play provides teachers  with essential information about children. Play, along with  a variety of materials, allows children to experiment with their thoughts and ideas in various ways.

We believe learning is a cyclical and creative process. We begin with observations and inspirations from children, followed by experimentation, discussion and play. We make mistakes and feel challenged. We integrate information. We produce (art, dance, song, etc). And we eventually become inspired by a new idea. There is plenty of time here… for scientific inquiry, for connection, for play, and for thinking.


Listening and Documentation

Kids at Tulip Tree Preschool in PortlandListening is one of our daily joys as teachers. We use documentation and observation (listening) as reflection tools for our work.

Our documentation is an expression of love for the children, our work, and ourselves. It is our way of telling the stories of our community, and of letting the children know that their ideas are valued.

We attempt to listen to the child’s authentic self. We listen to honor the pulse of our community. Teachers take pictures, jot down conversations, and reflect daily on our preschool blog. Documentation also helps us to assess development. When we have records of a child’s journey, we can look back and project forward. This is one of the ways we help individual children to grow.


Tulip Tree Preschool is an inclusive environment.  We welcome diverse families and celebrate differences of race, color, religion, national origin, family structure, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, or ability. We strive to have a thoughtful and friendly community. When we enter into relationships with children and their families, we are committing to a process of understanding and growth.

Kids at Tulip Tree Preschool in Portland

Parents have many opportunities to take part in their children’s learning in a meaningful way. We provide many opportunities throughout the year for parents to engage in our learning community, such as conferences, a book club, family events, and parent nights.

The Environment

Kids at Tulip Tree Preschool in PortlandNature is full of wonder, information and questions. As people, we seek out and create beauty (light, color, sound, movement, story), and are often influenced by our environment.

At Tulip Tree, we spend ample amounts of time outdoors every day, rain or shine, because it is our birthright to have a profound relationship with our natural world. The clothed or naked presence of the Tulip Tree, the coolness or warmth of the air, the changing light of shadows, the ferns, the birth and death of our yearly garden, the rain and the fleeting dry season, all help us to learn cycle at a core level, to embrace our delicate selves, and the ever-changing brilliance of life.

We also believe that the environment is a third teacher, a “living organism.” We are frequently assessing the environment to see where its challenges and strengths are, and implementing changes according to our observations.