Macleay Park Field Trip


Way back in March our classes bundled up and headed to one of Portland’s oldest parks, Macleay Park. We climbed the hill along Balch Creek and noticed the new plants unfolding, the creek full and raging, and the animals exploring the warming weather.





An HFP parent shared this story:

We had a great time hiking Macleay Park. There was a warm spring rain pelting down, but L kept taking her hood off. When I asked her if she wanted to put it back on because her hair was getting wet, she replied, “Nope, because I’m a Nature Girl!” She continued on her hike, identifying ferns and cedar trees, soaking and delighted. Another magical HFP moment.




Now Enrolling for Fall 2014!

HFP is now enrolling children aged 3-5 for Fall 2014!


Hawthorne Family Playschool is a play-based cooperative preschool in Southeast Portland. Families are deeply invested in the community and are proud of this school. We’re excited to open the doors for new children and families in the fall.

We offer:

Intimate class size for individualized attention. (14 students with teacher, 2 parents, and often college intern students)

Highly experienced, educated, passionate teacher with 24 years of experience and Masters coursework in Human Development.

Thoughtful and equitable financing (sliding scale tuition, tuition assistance, thoughtful fundraising, fairly compensating our teacher)

A focus on nurturing connections to nature (children are outdoors daily, we have a lush nature playscape instead of a manufactured/static play yard, we collect items from the natural world and use them indoors, we take field trips to natural settings and farms)

Please contact our Membership Chair for more information and to schedule a tour!

Spring Rabbits Visit HFP


A few weeks ago, our classes were delighted to think like rabbits; they ate rabbit-related snacks, dressed up like rabbits, painted rabbit silhouettes, etc. We even had the chance to visit with real rabbits and baby bunnies generously shared by an HFP alumni family.

This is the fourth year we’ve had a visit from this family and their beloved rabbits, and it’s become a highly-anticipated springtime event at school.






Spring 2014 Rabbits Visit HFP from HawthorneFamilyPlayschool on Vimeo.

Spring 2014 Rabbits Visit HFP 2 from HawthorneFamilyPlayschool on Vimeo.

What You Should Know About Oregon’s Kindergarten Assessment — From Parent Child Preschools Organization

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From our friends at PCPO

May 5, 2014

Hello, PCPO parents and teachers.

Your kindergartner, upon entering an Oregon public school, will be given a state-mandated kindergarten assessment. The PCPO board – as well as many PCPO teachers and other early childhood professionals – are very concerned about this test for a number of reasons.

We are urging all parents to investigate this testing further. The test itself could be detrimental to children who do not already know the end-of-kindergarten items. Imagine the effect of having one of your first kindergarten experiences clearly show your teacher that you do not know “anything,” or being given a final exam in high school on the first day of class. The test also does not help or inform teachers, because they do not get the results. The kindergarten teacher will have his or her own assessment to help her plan for the class and your child.

The use of letter names and sounds and addition and subtraction as a beginning kindergarten assessment can only increase the “schoolization” of preschools. We know, through much research, that young children perform better in elementary school if they explore their environment and interact with others in preschool. We call this play, but it is really the important work of early childhood. It is wrong for preschoolers to be drilled on letters instead of learning them through their play activities. We also know, through the same research, that this early drilling of information shows no benefit to children in later years.

If you are interested in learning more about the testing and what you can do, please read the document below. There are people you can email and talk to (such as your principal). You should also know that, if you choose, you are legally entitled to opt out of the state testing.

Attached is a summary research report on play-based preschool and its benefits. Feel free to make copies and share with others who may have similar concerns.

Kathy Ems
PCPO President
Read Full Article

Why Parents Should be Concerned about the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment
Play Based vs. Academic Preschools. What the Research Says

We Endorse Marriage Equality


On April 2, 2014 the board of Hawthorne Family Playschool (HFP) voted unanimously to endorse the ballot measure for marriage equality in order to oppose discrimination against lesbian and gay Oregonians and their families. HFP took this action with the enthusiastic support of our membership: the 28 families and one teacher who desire a more just society for our children. (Read our full statement here.)