1) How does the waitlist work? How long is it?
If you’d like to be considered for future enrollment opportunities with us, they would likely be for September 2025 as we do have a significant number of families on our wait list. We reach out each Spring to our wait list families to fill any openings for September. We mainly do enrollment once per year to build age cohorts that move up through our program together each September (versus a rolling enrollment that may exist in other programs).
We encourage you to build a profile on PDX Waitlist to join our waitlist, www.pdxwaitlist.com. Scholarship/Aid options are available for the waitlist fee, and tuition costs, upon request.
Currently enrolled children and siblings of currently enrolled children have priority status when it comes to enrollment openings. Before we look at the waitlist for candidates for our openings, we offer days to our current families to ensure all of our currently enrolled families are satisfied with their schedules.
Preschool classrooms (ages 3-5) are now enrolled through Preschool for All instead of directly with us, more information about that program can be found here. There is an option there to receive email notifications of when the online application will open. Joining our waitlist will not have any influence on your lottery position with Preschool for All.
2) Do you accept DHS?
Yes, we happily accept DHS payments. We ask that all families pay the co-payment as outlined by their case worker; based on the availability of financial aid, families do not typically pay any additional tuition beyond their co-payment.
3) Do you work with MECP?
Yes! Multnomah Early Childhood Program (MECP), under the David Douglas School District, provides early intervention and early childhood special education services to children birth to age five in Multnomah County. MECP serves families in all eight school districts in Multnomah County (Centennial, Corbett, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow, Parkrose, Portland Public Schools, Reynolds, and Riverdale). Services are individually designed to address the special needs of the young child with developmental delays or disabilities. Visit this link to learn more, Multnomah Early Childhood Program (MECP) – David Douglas School District. Students are placed in programs by MECP, we offer two (2) half days per week for MECP students.
4) Are you a Preschool for All location?
Yes, all preschool classrooms (ages 3-5) are now enrolled entirely through Preschool for All after what has been an incredibly successful start as a pilot site. More information about that program can be found here. There is an option there to receive email notifications of when the online application will open. Joining our waitlist will not have any influence on your lottery position with Preschool for All.
5) If I start my child part-time, would I be able to add more days as they get older?
We do our best to accommodate our part-time families as spots open. If you are interested in adding a day or two, please let us know and we will certainly enroll your child for more days as they become available.
6) What are your group sizes, and ratios of adults to children?
Our ratios and class sizes depend on the age of the children in each classroom:
- Younger Infants (Ages 6 weeks – 12 Months): Capacity: 6; child-to-teacher ratio: 3:1
- Older Infants (Ages 12-24 Months): Capacity: 8; child-to-teacher ratio: 4:1
- Toddlers (Ages 24 – 36 Months): Capacity: 10; child-to-teacher ratio: 5:1
- Preschoolers (Ages 3 – 5 Years); Capacity: 16-18; child-to-teacher ratio: 10:1
7) Does Wild Lilac follow a certain curriculum?
Current research demonstrates that children learn best through play and exploration in supportive and engaging environments. We provide hands-on, social experiences to explore, build, create and experiment together each day. At Wild Lilac, curriculum is emergent, which means that teachers plan experiences and activities for their classrooms based on the themes of interest that emerge from the children’s play. Wild Lilac teachers use a project approach in planning curriculum. In working collaboratively on projects that relate to what they are most curious about, children develop foundational academic skills in relevant contexts in order to best support their cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
8) Wild Lilac calls itself an “inclusive preschool,” but what does that mean?
We have the same hopes and goals for all of our children – those with or without special needs – and their families:
- a sense of belonging and connection,
- positive social relationships and friendships,
- development and learning to reach their full potential.
At Wild Lilac, we follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. We do not exclude a child and/or family based on special needs, unless the modifications necessary would fundamentally alter the nature of our services. We collaborate with Multnomah Early Childhood Program to create individualized plans to best support children with special needs in our classrooms. Research supports our belief that inclusive classrooms optimally support both children with special needs and typically developing children by offering group environments where all children’s unique abilities, paces, strengths and challenges are accommodated and honored. To review the joint position statement on Inclusion by the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education for Young Children (NAEYC), please view their Inclusion Position Statement online.
9) What do you do about biting/hitting/aggression? What is your discipline policy?
At Wild Lilac, it is our goal to support children’s emerging self-regulation, self-esteem, and respect for others. We focus on acknowledging children’s positive behaviors in order to encourage self-confidence, collaboration, and problem solving. Teachers communicate developmentally appropriate classroom expectations and set clear, fair and consistent limits for children’s behavior. Wild Lilac teachers model respect by treating children with gentleness, positive regard and consistency at all times. Under no circumstances do Wild Lilac teachers use intimidation, threats or shame as guidance strategies. We invite you to read more about our Guidance Policy; supporting children’s social-emotional development is a cornerstone of our approach to early childhood education.
10) Do you accept children in diapers in all of your classrooms? How do you address potty training? Do you begin potty training at a specific age or do you wait until a child is ready?
We accept children in diapers in all of our classrooms. We believe that children reach the developmental milestone of toilet-readiness differently depending on their unique development. At Wild Lilac, teachers see and support signs of toilet-readiness as they develop. We trust the children to be in control of their own bodies in the transition between using diapers and using the toilet. To learn more about the diaper to toilet transition at Wild Lilac, please see our toilet transition guide.
11) Do you prepare meals and snacks for the children or do we bring our own? If you make the food, can you accommodate a special diet?
Wild Lilac has a wonderful kitchen and garden that supports our food program. We provide the children with healthy, vegetarian food to honor their growing bodies. The children have many opportunities to help grow and make the food they eat. We find the experience of helping with planting, tending, and harvesting from the garden –as well as helping to bake or cook–creates a connection to food that supports their health, nutrition, and understanding of the natural world. When possible, we buy locally grown produce to support local growers and reduce the environmental impacts associated with transporting food. We also eat seasonally to honor the relationship between the rhythm of our bodies and the rhythm of the natural world.
If children have special diets for any reason – allergies, family preferences, religious beliefs, etc. – we may ask families to provide food items needed to substitute for our regular menu items. In many cases, the kitchen staff can work with families whose children have common dietary restrictions (such as dairy or wheat allergies) by making some simple substitutions to fit the child’s needs.
We are a nut-free program, and we ask that families do not bring foods with nut ingredients into our school.
12) Are children required to arrive at school right when school opens?
While each classroom has its own Daily Rhythm, children typically arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 am. After the open transition to the day, classrooms often begin with whole group time–a story circle, a morning meeting, or breakfast–which is essential in building classroom communities. We value easy, not-rushed mornings so if you have the luxury of not needing to race out the door, by all means, take it, and we’ll see you when you arrive.
13) Do you offer aftercare later than 5:30 pm?
We do not offer aftercare after 5:30 pm, except for specific parent events as noted on our calendar.
14) Does Wild Lilac have any pets?
Yes, in our natural science studio, children will discover Hedwig the bearded dragon, giant cockroaches, goldfish, Princess Boxy the Tortoise and more amazing creature explorations on a daily basis!
15) Can I be reimbursed or pay less when my child is absent or on vacation?
In order to develop a stable budget with which to pay our teachers and operate our program, we must charge parents for care whether or not their child attends each and every day.