UPDATE: Opal Beginning School is no longer accepting Info Session RSVPS. To attend an info session, please RSVP and provide the following information:
- Your child's name & birth date (must be 3 by September 1, 2021)
- Information session date & time
- Your name(s)
- Your email & daytime phone number
- How you heard about our program
Learn more about our school values, guiding principles, and learning community.
AGES. Opal Beginning School is for children ages 3-5. Children must be 3 years old by September 1, 2021 to be eligible for enrollment. Children must be able use the toilet independently (no diapers or pullups).
APPLICATIONS. Applications for 2021-22 now available! To complete your online or paper application (see sidebar at left on desktop and below on mobile), be sure to pay the $25 non-refundable application fee. You may pay the application fee by check or by credit card (payment link in application).
Please make checks payable to: Portland Children’s Museum and write in the memo line “Opal Beginning School Application” with your student’s name. Mail the application and fee to: Opal School, Portland Children’s Museum, 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland OR 97221.
ENROLLMENT. Offers of Enrollment are sent (via email) beginning March 15, 2021. Applications received by Monday, March 8, 2021 at 5 pm are given priority for the first round of enrollment offers. We do not maintain a perpetual waitlist from year-to-year.
ANNUAL TUITION. The annual tuition for 2021-22 is $10,750 and is due even if you withdraw before June 2022.
TUITION DEPOSIT. To secure your child’s placement, a 20% non-refundable deposit of $2,150 is due 10 days after placement is offered. If we do not receive your deposit within 10 days, we will offer placement to another child in the wait-pool.
TUITION PAYMENTS. As a convenience to our families, you may make 8 monthly payments of $1,075, with the first payment due by July 5. Your deposit will be applied after all payments are received.
2021-22 SCHOOL YEAR SCHEDULE/CALENDAR. Opal Beginning School has two classrooms, Cedar and Alder, which operate from September to June. The regular school day starts at 8:30 am and ends at 1:30 pm, Monday–Friday. AfterCare may be offered, for an additional fee, until 4:30 pm each day that school is in session.
The school calendar is distributed with the Family Handbook in August. We follow the Portland Public Schools calendar for holidays and school breaks, but not all inservice days.
CLASS SIZES. The Cedar community has 17 children and 2 teachers; the Alder community has 20 children and 2 teachers.
AFTERCARE. Our licensed AfterCare program is offered for an additinal fee, until 4:30 pm each day that school is in session. Enrollment is limited to 10 children. Registration forms will be available in August. This program depends on enrollment—if there are not enough students enrolled, the program may not be offered.
SAFETY. Opal School follows best practices to mitigate viral exposure for the health and safety of our school community. You can view our Health & Safety Plan, which is a dynamic document subject to updates based on new information about viral transmission and guidance from ODE/OHA.
PLEASE NOTE: Opal Beginning School (for ages 3-5) and Opal Charter School (for grades K-5) share the same educational philosophy, however the enrollment process is very different. Applications for Opal Beginning School, a private early childhood program, are now available.
For Opal Charter School, a public charter elementary school, each student must apply through the lottery as required by law. To be eligible for the lottery, a student must be age 5 (for Kindergarten) by September 1. Enrollment in Opal Beginning School does not lead to enrollment in Opal Charter School.
3-5 years old
8:30 am–1:30 pm on M–F
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find out more about the school? Both 2021 Virtual Information Sessions have now taken place. RSVPs are closed. You can learn more about our mission and values HERE.
Unfortunately, due to the level of interest in our school, we are not able to offer individual tours and look forward to meeting you at one of the information sessions.
How do you make enrollment decisions? Priority is given to returning students and siblings of Opal School students. Enrollment decisions are based on balancing classrooms for gender, age and diversity. Decisions are not based on thae order the application is received.
When will I find out if my child’s application is accepted? Families will be notified via email of their child’s placement or wait-pool status starting March 15, 2021, or within 30 days of the School Office receiving the application and fee.
What happens after my child is offered enrollment? If your child is offered enrollment, you will receive a Payment Agreement. Your child’s enrollment is not finalized until we receive the non-refundable tuition deposit within 10 days. We collect Enrollment forms (including immunization records) in July, because these are only valid for one year (per Oregon child care center rules).
Are the fees refundable? There are no refunds and no exceptions.
Do you offer scholarships? Unfortunately, we are not able to offer scholarships.
Will my child be included in any form of research or documentation? Documentation of children's learning—including but not limited to notes, photos, and audio and video recordings—may be published in all media and may be available to the general public. We respect that this may not be right for you and your family, and Opal School is therefore not the appropriate learning environment for your child.
Will I be expected to contribute additional funds or volunteer at the school? Annual tuition covers only a portion of operating costs and you will be invited to contribute to fundraising efforts and to volunteer in the classroom.
Will my child automatically move from the preschool program to the elementary program? No, this is not allowed by law. Enrollment in Opal Beginning School (a private, tuition-funded early childhood program) does not lead to enrollment in Opal Charter School, a public elementary school.
There’s lots of ways to tell a story. You can sing it and you can dance it and you can read it. And the oldest way of telling a story is when someone tells a story to another. —Eliza, age 5
Explore Time engages children to playfully investigate a particular question, problem or medium, supported by carefully-prepared environments. Examples include the use of the light table, construction area, or art studio.
Studio & Project Work allows children to work with paint and natural materials, like clay or wood, to study a topic of interest and participate in long-term projects with classmates.
Story Workshop is an opportunity for children to strengthen their language and literacy development by playing with a variety of objects and materials to tell ideas from their real or imaginary lives. They develop competence with the story form and communicate their stories using a wide variety of media.
Outdoor Time happens every day! Children spend time on the playground or nearby arboretum. They make connections with the natural world, including the weather, the seasons and the plants or animals living in Washington Park.
Math & Reading Workshop supports the emerging skills of our children as they build their understanding of mathematical problem solving and reading.