The mission of Teaching Preschool Partners is to strengthen quality preschool education for children in high-risk populations by supporting the creation of teaching preschools that give visibility to the strong capacities of our youngest learners and that serve as demonstration sites to encourage and inspire inquiry-based learning environments in Oregon communities.
Teaching Preschool Partners
TPP was founded in 2014 by Catherine Willmott, community leader and former investment banker, and Judy Graves, founding director of Opal School and the Center for Learning at Portland Children’s Museum. TPP partners with Portland-area school districts to establish and operate high-quality teaching preschool classrooms serving vulnerable children. TPP currently operates two classrooms, one in the Gladstone School District serving children with special needs and those living in poverty, and the other in the Parkrose School Distrcit serving children living in poverty, most also children of color and English Language Learners.
A teaching preschool is a demonstration site that makes visible the kinds of early learning experiences that respect the inquisitive minds of young children and their natural curiosity to explore the world around them. Teaching preschools encourage playful inquiry approaches to learning through the arts and sciences by inviting young minds to become protagonists of their own learning.
Teaching Preschool Partners collaborates with organizations and school districts that value and recognize the need for high-quality teaching preschools in their communities. Collaboration includes giving support in one or more of the following areas: identifying and securing resources, assisting with operational tasks, creating high-quality learning environments, securing the employment of highly-qualified staff, assistance in identifying tools to record and document student learning outcomes, and providing professional development and supervision of teaching staff during the start-up years. TPP currently oversees Gladstone Teaching Preschool inside the Gladstone Center for Children and Families in Clackamas County, and Prescott Teaching Preschool inside Prescott Elementary School in the Parkrose School District in Multnomah County. The Gladstone classroom is operated in partnership with Clackamas ESD and serves 20 children, half with special education needs. The Prescott classroom in operated in partnership with Parkrose School DIstrict and serves the most vulnerable children in this high-need pocket of outer northeast Multnomah County.