Wade, Student at Tulip Tree Preschool in PortlandWade’s Story, Student at Tulip Tree, Age 5
Who Could Speak Better About What We Do Than the Students?

“Once upon a time there was a big tear that fell from the sky and it landed on the Tulip Tree… And the tear said, ‘Help, help, before I get the ground and break!’ And then came a good kitty, who picked up the tear and put it in a jar so it wouldn’t break. And then the tear said, ‘Hooray! hooray! I’m not going to break!’ And there was a little sandbox that the tear played in. And there was a big Commons that the sandbox was in. And there was a tree house in this Tulip Tree that the tear lived in. And then the tear had a teepee in the Commons, too. Just like this teepee. And he had a big barn full of lots of toys and he played with them all day long.”

Laura Czarniecki, Teacher at Tulip Tree

Laura Czarniecki, Tulip Tree PreschoolAfter over a decade of working with children in a variety of capacities, I have landed at Tulip Tree Preschool. I am dedicated as an educator to listening, play, imagination, social and emotional learning, anti-bias practice, and project-based inquiry—all part and parcel of the Tulip Tree experience. I have stayed, now firmly into my fourth year as a teacher here, because this is a place that allows me to be with children in a way that honors (cherishes!) their capable, curious, and courageous hearts and minds. I have stayed because this is a place that encourages deep reflective teaching, true collaborative process and never-ending professional development and growth. I have stayed because I love this family of young individuals, and the adults who surround and support them. I teach from a place of relationship and Tulip Tree gives space and time to build true connections. I have stayed because each day is unique and finds small and large ways to fill me anew with joy, wonder, and inspiration.

Bernadette Fauser, Parent

Tulip Tree has helped my daughter blossom in so many ways. During her first year of attendance, she was already using her new found conflict resolution skills as she played with other children: “May I have a turn with that when you’re done? Will you tell me when you’re done then?” It was astonishing to watch. Now she is even more creative with her problem solving. When I’ve been frustrated at home, she’ll wisely say to me, “I have a solution. You go outside and relax a little, and then come back and talk again later.”

My daughter is also quite the artist, and thanks to Tulip Tree, is given ample opportunities to express herself. She also incorporates concepts learned at school like ‘community’ and ‘abstract art,’ and brings them into her artwork at home. I recently asked my daughter if she had a good day at school (like I always do), and she said, “Mom, you don’t have to ask me that anymore. I always have a good day at school.” Thank you so much, Tulip Tree, for nurturing the growth of our precious little ones!

Stevie Pattyn, Parent

As the mother of a child with intense separation anxiety, just the thought of choosing a preschool for my daughter was stressful for me. After several failed preschool meet and greets that ended in tears and screaming, I was feeling defeated and was starting to think that maybe she wasn’t quite ready for school. However, not willing to throw in the towel just yet, I scheduled an appointment to visit Tulip Tree.

Tulip Tree Preschool in Portland: GroundsAs we walked through the commons of the school, I could already tell my daughter was more at ease than at any of the prior school tours. As we entered the classroom, my daughter’s eyes lit up and she took off running. As she eagerly discovered the classroom, she was engaged by a very warm and loving Sarah-Lu, who in no way seemed phased by the little tornado that was joyfully exploring every inch of her school. Finally, when it was time to go, I asked my daughter if she would like to come and play with Sarah-Lu and the other children that attended Tulip Tree. Her response was an enthusiastic, “YES!” I was elated and relieved.

In the beginning she had a rough time saying goodbye, but Laura and the other teachers patiently worked with her to make her feel welcomed and comfortable, while also giving her the space to transition on her terms. Now as we enter our second year at Tulip Tree, I am happy to report that I have a confident and independent four year old that relishes every single moment she is at school… and is often sad when it it time to go home for the day.

Even though it was the intimate and nurturing environment that initially drew us to Tulip Tree, I am beyond thrilled with the child-lead curriculum and the quality of the educational materials she is presented with daily; materials that inspire her imagination, engage her critical thinking skills, and stimulate her appetite for learning.

Though we will greet the close of her final year at Tulip Tree with bittersweet emotions, I know that the skills that she has learned and the close relationships she built while here, will help contribute positively to her developing self confidence and a desire to learn… and for that, I will be forever grateful for this wonderful school.

Becky Rall, Parent

My son and daughter (who are twins) have been at Tulip Tree Preschool since it opened its doors two and a half years ago. There are so many great things about this school! The indoor space is well-organized, cozy and welcoming, with lots of materials and areas for exploration. The addition of the lot next door and its subsequent transformation into a large outdoor play and gathering space has been a wonderful addition to the school. There are chickens and gardens, a large sandbox, a teepee, lots of places for imaginative and active play. And each day one of the teachers writes a blog entry, with pictures, so that the grown-ups can get a glimpse of what went on during the school day. But what really makes this preschool exceptional is the wonderful teachers. The compassion, acceptance, and caring attention given to the kids is amazing and so reassuring. My kids have very different personalities, and they have been supported, nurtured, and challenged in ways that were best suited to them. We feel so lucky to be a part of the Tulip Tree community. I’m looking forward to our younger son starting preschool here!

Kathy Shean-jones, Parent

Tulip Tree Preschool TestimonialsI’m so glad to have found a loving place for my daughters to be! Tulip Tree Preschool is wonderful, creative, inspiring, and fun. Sarah-Lu and Laura are incredible teachers who give such respectful time and thought to all that they plan and do with the students at Tulip Tree. I am continually impressed with how they provide amazing opportunities for discovery, and follow where the children lead. It is a place of inquiry and exploration where learning unfolds. Students’ individuality is so lovingly honored and valued through their art, play, and words.

It is evident when you walk in and see the children’s work and their words posted on the walls. Finding a wonderful, safe place for your child can be daunting and stressful, at best. I was so relieved that I found Tulip Tree, and I’m so glad to be a part of the community that Sarah-Lu is developing. And I feel that my daughters are on an amazing and wonderful journey. But, really, the best recommendation comes from my daughter. She says, “Mommy, I want to go to Tulip Tree everyday!”

Mika Watanabe, Parent

Tulip Tree Preschool is such a beautiful and enchanting place. My daughter loves her time there, and I can tell she truly feels cozy and comfortable with her teachers. Although she is one of the youngest in the group, I find that my daughter still has lots of room to shine due to the dynamic and integrative nature of the curriculum. Tulip Tree offers a wonderful balance of creative play, including storytelling, building, dance, and art, and yet still manages to provide a sense of warmth and space to rest, which I find to be very important as our little ones first venture into the world of school and group social dynamics.

Needless to say, the teachers are full of vitality. I stayed to spend a morning with my daughter recently, and these teachers definitely keep themselves involved at all times, whether helping out with child-led art projects, crawling around the floor in imaginative play, or getting down to boogie with the kids during creative dance. I feel so fortunate to have my daughter spend the day with Sarah Lu and the rest of the teachers at Tulip Tree. In fact, last night at dinner my daughter said that when she grows up she wants to be a “Sarah Lu,” and if you can’t already tell by this review, I don’t blame her!

Karen Neidhart, Parent

I have 2 children attending Tulip Tree who love the time they spend at school with their teachers and friends. The director and teachers have created a loving and respectful environment where the children feel appreciated. Sarah Lu and the teachers truly care about the progress made by each student. I was amazed at how much the teachers have learned about my children in the two days per week that they attend the school. I have received wonderful feedback about my children’s artistic, social, and critical thinking skills. 

There is a real sense of warmth and community at Tulip Tree. The children’s activities, which range from picnicking at the park to feeding chickens to cooking together, are shared with parents and celebrated. Parents often share information and support each other.

Amy Williams, Parent & Owner, Tumbleweed Infant House

Everyone at Tulip Tree goes the extra mile – they truly see children, partner with parents, and provide rich and helpful information. We feel so lucky to be a part of such an amazing community!