Community Arts Preschool provides an environment that is safe, nurturing, and open to all learning possibilities and styles.

We encourage children to experiment, take risks, make mistakes, and try something new in their desire to succeed.

We focus on developing friendships, individual creativity and kindergarten readiness. We offer a variety of creative choices on a daily basis:

  • Process-Oriented Art: not ‘projects’, but an opportunity to explore a medium with the satisfaction of involvement.
  • Music: time to sing, move, listen and make music.
  • Science: hands-on opportunities to better understand our physical world.
  • Group Times: time to share and learn about each other, listen to stories, do plays, gather information and enjoy contributing to the group.
  • Outside Time: lots of space to run, climb, swing, slide, dig and explore on our secure playground.
  • Always Available: blocks, puzzles, games, books, writing centers, fine and large motor-skill opportunities.

Our Credentials

  1. We are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
  2. Our teachers and administrators have professional training and credentials. Our teachers have Associate’s, Bachelors, or Certifications in teaching or child development.
  3. The teachers relate well with children, respecting cultural and ethnic differences and pay attention to each individual child. They encourage children to talk and explain their ideas. Teachers set limits using positive discipline.
  4. 7:1 Child to Teacher ratio for 3 year olds, 7:1 for 4 year olds. Class sizes consist of approximately 14 children for three-year-olds and 15 for four-year-olds, with at least two teachers per class.
  5. The curriculum is carefully constructed, with a well-rounded selection of activities that strengthen all areas of development-physical, creative, social, and intellectual. Learning is primarily active, rather than passive. The curriculum is also flexible, in response to the needs of the children in the class.
  6. Our teachers are well supported. Time is set aside for daily planning and ongoing program evaluation. Teachers participate in ongoing professional development.
  7. Parents are welcome to visit the classroom at any time, and are encouraged to participate in many activities, to ask questions, and to contribute their insights into the strengths and needs of their own children. Teachers communicate regularly with parents through newsletters, notes, phone calls, and conferences. When problems arise, teachers and parents work together to solve them.
  8. Our teachers evaluate each child’s progress on an ongoing basis, through observations of their behavior, their artwork and other products. They help each individual child to develop fully.
  9. The physical space, both inside and out, exceeds standards for developmental appropriateness and safety. There are areas for active and quiet play.
  10. Our health and safety standards provide cleanliness and protection against infectious diseases, and food-borne illnesses.

Our Goals

Goals for Our Students:

  • I Can Do It
  • Mistakes Are for Learning
  • We Respect Each Other
  • I Can Be A Friend
  • I Have A Lot to Give
  • My Choices Matter

Our Mission

Community Arts Preschool provides an environment that is safe, nurturing, and open to all learning possibilities and styles.

We encourage children to experiment, take risks, make mistakes, and try something new in their quest to succeed.

Our Philosophy

“Children learning about their physical and social world in a way that is natural for them”

We believe that the preschool years are the years of discovery. We also believe that a developmentally appropriate curriculum allows children to explore, examine, clarify and resolve that which they are learning about themselves and their environment. Opportunities for art, music, creative dramatics, puppetry, science, small and large motor-skill development and school readiness are the core of our curriculum.

Problem solving and conflict resolution are an integral part of this curriculum. These experiences stimulate growth in all developmental areas – physical, social, emotional, and intellectual, and are designed to develop children’s self-esteem and positive feelings toward learning and school.

We also believe that helping children develop a sense of belonging is fundamental toward the building of self-esteem. Children who feel they belong are much more willing to take a risk in relationships and a risk in learning.

As children experience their teacher’s respect for them, they extend that same respect to others and this is what builds a strong sense of community. This is the goal of Community Arts.

School History

Community Arts Preschool, inside the Lakewood Center for the Arts, in downtown Lake Oswego, was co-founded in 1981 by Nicole Christianson and Ellyn Anderson.

The vision for the school was to provide a preschool environment based on the arts: creative dramatics, art, music, puppetry, science and play as a foundation for the curriculum. More than 30 years later, this is still our vision.

In 1997, The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited Community Arts. Our school has proudly earned that gold standard of accreditation ever since it was first awarded to us.

Eileen Dietz, a Community Arts teacher and director, has owned and operated the school since 2005. Community Arts now serves 120 students and families, with a very dedicated staff.

Our program has evolved to provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum for children ages three, four, and five. It now includes additional classroom space, a pre-kindergarten program, and a music and movement component.

It is with Nicole Christianson’s original vision and spirit that Community Arts Preschool continues to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for children to discover and learn about their world.