All Roads Learning Community

We are an infant and toddler Montessori school dedicated to nurturing the whole child; we believe that the spiritual, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of each unique and individual child must be met in order for a child to fully realize his or her potential.

All Roads is Green!

How Are We Green?

All Roads was founded in 2003 in response to the overwhelming evidence that the U.S. population must learn to live in better harmony with the natural world. The over consumption of our resources and continued removal of children from nature has created a lack of knowledge about how we can practice sustainability. Not only is there a lack of knowledge, but we are removed from the consequences of our consumption and many products are designed to be disposable.

Our idea was to create a special space for the youngest children in our community, and integrate ideas of sustainability into the curriculum. Thus we could create conditions where children might become ecologically intelligent by living in and absorbing such an environment.

We follow a pedagogy and philosophy rooted in the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori because her educational model embodies ideas of interconnectedness and respect for one's self, others and the environment. Dr. Montessori's didactic materials are unparalleled in meeting the unique developmental needs of children under six, many of them made with wood or other natural materials as a way to connect the child to the natural world.

All Roads has a unique interpretation of Dr. Montessori's work, and our practice includes a deep foundation in attachment based care. While we endeavor to create a space where obstacles to independence are removed, we offer a foundation of the human connection from which the child can explore confidently. At the core of this human connection is staff retention. All Roads makes staff retention the highest priority and strives to create a conscious community of children, parents and teachers committed to our common goals.

Our Practice:

The nuts and bolts of our day to day operations have evolved over our seven years in practice. The most important piece of our sustainability curriculum is our commitment to providing home cooked snacks and meals, prepared with organic and local food.

We base our food service on the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. We have a tradition of making our own stocks and then using them as a base in a soup, or to prepare rice or saute veggies. We have developed a menu that incorporates seasonal foods, and grow are garden, bigger every year! We harvest tomatoes, squash, broccoli, blueberries, onions, cabbage and corn. I have seen children eating broccoli picked from the plant and eaten like an ice cream cone!

We connect children to the food they eat, fruit in particular, by offering a ritual of cutting fruit at our noon time meal to be shared together.

When we prepare food, we avoid Teflon and never microwave in plastic.

We prepare and serve all our snacks and meals on site using minimally processed and packaged foods. We buy in bulk when we can. We food shop locally and buy 95% organic. All proteins are always organic.

This year, we were able make Noris Dairy in Crabtree, Oregon our supplier of organic dairy. We enjoy our non-homogenized milk (in reusable glass bottles), butter, cheese, yogurt, beef, and eggs fresh off the farm. Supporting local farmers is a great way to act consistently with ideas of environmental sustainability. We plan to expand our garden and look into a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture).

We use cloth sacks when grocery shopping. We do not use disposable serving utensils, cutlery or plates. We have a full set of reusable high quality plastic dishes and glasses for parties. We consolidate shopping trips, and try to make just one trip.

We offer a 'wasted food bowl' that the children scrape their wasted food into as they clean up from lunch or snack. All the children eat family style, where they are passing food around the table, waiting for their turn, helping younger children take their serving, and becoming aware when the last bit of a dish is served out. Our meals nourish our bodies and our spirits as well, in the conviviality of sharing a meal together.

Because we use glass, it sometimes breaks. It is not replaced immediately, and the idea of limited resources is experienced.

We compost and the children show great interest in hauling out the bucket and then observing the compost heap. We stir the compost together and observe the worms. We identify food scraps. In the spring when we plant our garden, we pull the compost out from the bottom together.

The second significant commitment that All Roads makes to environmental sustainability is the use of cloth diapers and underpants. This usually leads to an younger age of freedom from diapers, greatly reducing the overall use of diapers in general. The children come to school in their cloth diapers or underpants and go home in their cloth diaper or underpants. We do not use disposable diapers at any time at school. We launder all the diapers and wraps on site in a high efficiency washing machine using enzyme based bleach and low impact soap.

While there have been assertions that disposable diapering and cloth diapering are equal in environmental impact, the studies of note have been greatly debunked.

We have cloth hand towels in the bathroom for each child and staff member. We have cloth towels in the kitchen. We use foaming soap and reuse the little plastic dispenser bag until it can be used no more. We have only one trash can in the classroom, encouraging thought and intention when throwing something away.

Other practices of sustainability include using our empty cardboard boxes and containers for art projects. The children recycle their own paper and artwork in our paper recycling bin.

We use wooden toys and developmental aids made by reputable sources. We use glass when serving liquids. We have an under the counter water filter.

We recycle all that we can curbside, and compost our non-protein food scraps. We take plastics that are not accepted curbside to drop off stations

We use native plant species in our yards and gardens and invite birds, butterflies, spiders, ladybugs and many insects and worms into our yards with hospitable plants and other enticing things. We use organic fertilizers and natural pesticides.

Our small office recycles paper, ink cartridges and envelopes. We collect any business reply envelopes, or opened envelopes still in good shape. Even if I only use them for payroll, I am saving 144 envelopes a year. We are on paperless billing and electronic payments. All of our invoicing and school news is paperless.


Currently Enrolling for 2012

Our mission at All Roads is to aid in the natural development of the young child by providing a specially prepared environment designed to meet their social and emotional needs. We view education as an aid to life, and we view our role in this educational process as an *assistant to infancy*.
Portland, Or. 97219