We warmly invite prospective parents and other caregivers to join us for an open house. Our open houses are not mandatory; however we strongly encourage families who are interested in our school to attend because we do not provide individual tours. 

OPEN HOUSES for 2018-19
Saturday, February 3, 2018: 9-10:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2018: 9-10:30 a.m.

To RSVP for an open house, please email with the following information.

  • Preferred open house date and time
  • Your name
  • Your day time phone number
  • Your child's birth date (must be 3 by June 1, 2018)
  • How you heard about our program (not required)

If your child does not meet the age requirement for the 2018-19 school year, please do not apply at this time. 

AGES. Opal Beginning School is for children ages 3-5. Children must be 3 years old by June 1, 2018 to be eligible for enrollment. Children must be able use the toilet independently (no diapers or pullups).

APPLICATION. Applications for 2018-19 will be available beginning February 1, 2018. To complete your application (see sidebar), be sure to include a $25 non-refundable application fee. 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: Portland Children’s Museum, Attention: Opal School, 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland OR 97221.

ENROLLMENT. Enrollment notification (via email) begins March 12, 2018.

ANNUAL TUITION. The annual tuition for 2018-19 is $9,100 and is due even if you withdraw before June 2019. As a convenience to our families, you may make 8 monthly payments of $910, with the first payment due by July 5. Your deposit will be applied after all payments are received.

DEPOSIT. To secure your child’s placement, a non-refundable deposit of $1,820 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.

2018-19 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 8:30am and ends at 1:30pm, Monday through Friday. AfterCare is offered, for an additional fee, until 5pm each day that school is in session. The school calendar is distributed with the Family Handbook in August. In general, we follow the Portland Public Schools calendar.

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 until 5pm each day that school is in session. Enrollment is limited to 10 children. Registration forms will be available in August.

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 available beginning February 1. 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 year olds
(by June 1, 2018)


8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on M-F

Application Fee*

Due with application
$25 by check
$26 by credit card

Non-refundable deposit*

Due within 10 days of offer of enrollment

Annual tuition*

Deposit is applied after all payments are received


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out more about the school? Please attend one of our open houses each Spring! You can also read about our mission and values are on this website. Unfortunately, due to the amount of interest in our school, we are not able to offer individual tours.

How do you make enrollment decisions? Priority is given to returning children and their siblings. Enrollment decisions are based on balancing classrooms for gender, age and diversity. Decisions are not based on the 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 by March 12, or within 30 days of the School Office receiving the application and fee.

What happens after my child is offered a spot? If your child is offered placement, you will receive an enrollment packet via email. Your child’s enrollment is not finalized until we receive the enrollment forms and the non-refundable security deposit within 10 days.

Are the fees refundable? There are no refunds and no exceptions.

Do you offer scholarships? Unfortunately, we do not offer scholarships.

Will my child be included in any form of research or documentation? Inherent in Opal School’s pedagogy is a deep commitment to research and dissemination. 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 your decision, if this is not right for you and your family, and Opal School is not the right learning environment for your child.

Will I be expected to contribute additional funds or volunteer at the school? Similar to other schools, tuition covers only a portion of operating costs and there will be invitations to contribute to fundraising events or volunteer in the classroom.

Will my child automatically move from the preschool program to the elementary program? No. Enrollment in Opal Beginning School (a private, tuition-based early childhood program) does not lead to enrollment in Opal Charter School, a public elementary school.

Opal Beginning School Learning Structures

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 is for children to playfully investigate environments that are carefully prepared to engage them in thinking about a particular question, problem or medium. 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 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.