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Childswork Learning Center


Childswork Learning Center was conceived in the heart and mind of Shannon Newmark. Shannon believed fundamentally that each young learner is unique and capable of taking responsibility for his or her own growth. She further believed that the teacher’s role is to meet each child where he or she is and to facilitate that child’s journey of learning and discovery. These beliefs remain the foundation of our school and our philosophy today.

In 1984, Childswork was born. At first, Childswork consisted of one half-day class on the Tucker Maxon Oral School Campus integrating deaf and hearing children. Over the first 18 years, Childswork expanded to include more classrooms, more students and more teachers on the Tucker Maxon Campus.

In the year 2000, Childswork opened additional classrooms at the Holgate Center and in 2001 expanded to the Lambert Center and eventually to Abernethy Elementary School in 2004.

In 2005, Childswork discontinued its lease with Abernethy and began a relationship with St. Stephen’s Church, leasing space for two classrooms. Eventually, in 2006, this led to the long term lease with St. Stephen’s Church which enabled Childswork to consolidate all of its classes into one building and expand its before and after care program, enrichment classes and camps.

Today, Childswork has 40 staff and 18 different classes for children ages 2 to kindergarten, serving approximately 250 children and their families.

Childswork’s rich history and unique opportunity to blend deaf and hearing children in a preschool setting was the inspiration behind our strong belief in creating a community based on respect for all. Childswork created a learning environment that focused on the whole child and the importance of acceptance, belonging and responsibility. Building on this initial foundation, our program today is based on developmentally appropriate practices, emergent curriculum and child-initiated environments which support confident and creative learners. We promote learning that engages the body, mind and heart working together with purpose and meaning. This is the work of the child and the guiding force of Childswork.

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About Childswork

Childswork Learning Center is a non-profit early childhood education school located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Since 1984, our school has served a diverse population of children and families, focusing on the development of the whole child with respect and compassion.

Childswork is a safe place for children to explore, take chances, make messes and learn through play. At Childswork we nurture wonder, we embrace joy, and we foster discovery.

Rights of Participation

No person shall be denied the services or facilities of this organization or be excluded from participation or services because of race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, religion, handicap, or national origin; discrimination of any kind is expressly prohibited.