Welcome to All Roads Learning Community.

All Roads offers a year round Montessori Program for infants and toddlers. We are located in Southwest Portland,just minutes away from downtown. Our enrollment is open to children between eight months (and mobile) to three years of age.

Around their third birthday, children are generally ready to move to the All Roads Casa, our program for children three to six years of age.

About All Roads

All Roads Learning Community, LLC was founded by Mercedes Paine Castle in 2003 to satisfy a growing demand for high quality infant and toddler care. We are a Oregon state certified family childcare. We offer beautiful classrooms with a comfortable feel. A small group setting, exceptional staff, and commitment to environmental sustainability are just a few things that sets All Roads apart from other early childhood programs.

All Roads Learning Community offers a half-day program as well as an extended day to serve the needs of working families.

Our Philosophy

All Roads Learning Community follows the philosophy and pedagogy of Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori was an Italian physician who gained notoriety for the work that she did with poor and mentally disabled children.

We believe that between birth and five years, a child undertakes the awesome task of constructing themselves as a person. As such, all facets of a child's development must be addressed - social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. As the child works to construct him or herself, we respect their activities as such, and refer to the activities that they engage in as "work."

All Roads provides an environment consistent with the development of the very young. Opportunities for peaceful and meaningful social interaction with both other children as well as adults serve as the foundation of the child's experience at school.

Beautiful, natural wooden materials aid in the development of fine motor skills; we work on strengthening the hand and pincer grasp in preparation for writing.

Opportunities for language development, practical life, and concept development are also intertwined throughout many of the activities and materials available to the children. Children have the freedom to choose activities as they are drawn to them.

Many people are surprised to learn that there are Montessori schools for infants an toddlers. The term for infant classrooms is the Nido (the Italian word for nest) and the toddler classroom is typically referred to as the Toddler Community. The term for the adult who has been trained to work with the youngest child is called an Assistant to Infancy.

Because we know that children under three years of age are in what Montessori referred to as a sensitive period for movement, language, and order, our environment is prepared to meet these developmental needs of the young child. We know that the youngest child is a tactile learner, an active learner, and as Montessori educators, we prepare ourselves as well as the environment for the special task of assisting the child in their self construction. Children are a product of what they find in their environment – and so we prepare our environment with the highest quality materials.

In our classroom, children move freely and choose activities based on their interest and ability. The trained Montessori teacher, or ‘Guide’ observes the children, and matches each child to activities that she believes will meet their unique developmental needs. The Guide works together with the child in order to elicit their 'maximum effort'. The strong feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment that the child feels as a result of exerting this effort is not only esteem building, but is the basis for the development of concentration, self motivation, and a love of learning. The materials and developmental aids in the Montessori classroom evolve as the children grow in age and ability.

One of the cornerstones in the All Roads Community is called Practical Life. For the youngest child, this means learning how to care for oneself in the context of eating, dressing, and toileting. Additionally, the children work together to care for their community by washing the dishes, feeding the fish, sweeping, scrubbing, polishing wood, and arranging flowers. Children prepare food for the lunch meal, helping to make waffle batter and chopping carrots, squash or sweet potatoes. The children have ownership over their mealtimes, choosing when and how much to eat. They have autonomy in setting and clearing their place, and tidying up themselves and their space when finished.

There are many activities in the Toddler Community that aid in the development and refinement of the senses. Activities that require a child to discriminate based on visual harmony, texture, smell, sound or even taste are referred to as Sensorial.

Language development is a key part of our Community. The youngest children are in the state of acquiring language, and this is supported through naming and classification activities, through reading and literature, and through lots and lots of singing. Montessori educators are very intentional in preparing young children for reading and writing. All of our activities are presented from left to right, top to bottom to prepare the eye for reading. Many activities are meant to strengthen the hand and pincer grasp in preparation for writing.

Art and Music are integrated into our Montessori environment and curriculum daily. Expression is always available, with opportunities to draw, use chalk, paint with watercolors or tempera paint at the easel, create collage, and cut with scissors. Art appreciation is integrated into the curriculum by being displayed on the wall, as well as through books and cards.

Music is a part of every day through spontaneous singing and both guided and independent explorations of rhythm instruments like shakers and drums.

Concept Development forms the foundation for all levels of math. Children under three are prepared for the abstract math that they will do one day by playing matching games, working with puzzles, and having very concrete experiences with quantities.

All Roads is generally a child’s first experience outside the home. As such, our classroom provides the context for meaningful social connection with other children and adults. Positive and peaceful interactions are guided when needed by the adults. The classroom is a bridge to the rules of society. We use our words to communicate. We take turns, and when we’re finished we will replace what we’ve used as we found it. We work together to care for our environment. We are free to move, as long as we do not harm others, or their work. Children may explore boundaries in a safe and nurturing environment. We redirect by using peaceful and positive language.

Because we know that children under three years of age are not developmentally ready for the complexities of 'sharing' we emphasize taking turns instead. The children may choose a 'work' or a 'job' and use this activity individually for as long as they like. When they are finished, the work is replaced to the shelf and another child may take their turn. It is infinitely easier for a young child to understand that they must wait to take a turn rather than to negotiate sharing.

We do have activities that encourage cooperation, and guided more directly by adults. Our mealtimes is a great example of community building and laying the foundation for understanding what it means to share, cooperate and take turns.

All Roads is deeply invested in the environmental health of the planet. We integrate ecological awareness into our curriculum. To this end, we prepare and serve wholesome organic snacks and meals, and filtered water. We use cloth diapers and underpants. We provide natural wooden toys and objects, and do not use harsh chemicals to clean. We are an Oregon state certified Eco Healthy Childcare, and are in the process of becoming and Oregon Certified Green School.

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Portland, Or. 97219