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  • James Townsend

Little Raiders Preschool registration now open for 2020-2021 School Year

Little Raiders Preschool is a high-quality Kindergarten readiness program operated by the Portland Public Schools. Located within Oakwood Elementary School, the Little Raiders program if focused on “social emotional, language and literacy, math, science, creative arts, fine and gross motor skills.”

Being located in an elementary school building, Little Raiders offers unique opportunities for three to five-year-old students preparing them for elementary school. These opportunities include visits to DK and Kindergarten classrooms, as well as visits from middle school aged “reading buddies.”

When asked how the Little Raiders Preschool program connects with the Portland Public Schools, Oakwood Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Findlay said, “The Little Raiders preschool program is fully immersed in our Portland Public Schools program. Curriculum utilized in Little Raiders is aligned with our DK-5 literacy program; Reading Wonders and Heggerty. Through play, students have the opportunity to learn not only literacy routines during preschool that will extend through their elementary careers, but also our school wide PBIS routines and procedures. Our preschoolers engage in hands on learning and projects throughout the building, utilize the library, technology, the outdoor classroom, have access to wide range of resources, and participate in all school activities Little Raiders preschool students have the opportunity to get to know the building, staff, and routines with a high level of adult support which helps to set the stage for a successful transition into Developmental Kindergarten or Kindergarten.”

Laura Prince is the Little Raiders Preschool Director and is also a teacher in the program. When we asked her how Little Raiders stands out from other pre-school programs, Prince said, “We are full day preschool that is committed to helping children gain the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in their school experiences and life. We believe that all children can and will learn new skills (at individual rates) in all areas of their development.”

Prince added, “We also believe that children learn by doing, getting messy, investigating their questions, and problem solving with their friends. They learn by playing games, using their imaginations, expressing their emotions, creating, and exploring the world around them.”

From the teacher perspective Prince said, “we set up intentional play activities and explorations that meet the needs of individual students. We question and extend their thinking and play to help them learn and grow. We provide high quality education and care for every student who comes into our classroom.”

Prince went on to say, “We intentionally plan and organize the classroom, so students can grow in the following areas: social emotional, language and literacy, math, science, creative arts, fine and gross motor skills. We also believe in creating an environment that will make children feel safe, loved, valued and accepted. We want all children to walk away with them knowing they were cared for, supported and they matter!”

Karen Knaebel is the parent of a Little Raider student. She told the Beacon, “Little Raiders Preschool has accepted, celebrated and educated our child from day one. Not only are the teachers and staff loving and encouraging to the children, but they are also informative and supportive to the families. My child has shown great academic, social and emotional progress because of the dedication of the Little Raiders teachers and staff. We are so thankful to have chosen the perfect preschool program!”

Sara Patrick had two daughters attend the Little Raiders program. She told the Beacon, “Our family has had extremely positive experiences with the Little Raiders program over the last several years, and we hold this program in high regard; I hope to provide some honest feedback for families seeking a preschool program in the area.”

Patrick added, “I should start off by saying that both of my daughters have attended the Little Raiders program, each of them for 2 years. Coming from a home where both parents work outside the home full-time, it was extremely important for us to find a preschool program that offered flexible hours. Many preschool programs we researched offered programs that were just a few hours long, a couple of days each week. One thing that we appreciated about this program was how there were so many attendance options: part time (half day/ whole day) and full time (half day/whole day). They were willing to work with us on drop off and pickup times by pairing with the before/after school “latchkey” care program. With all these variables in play, the Little Raiders program ended up being very convenient and practical for our family.”

Patrick was also very comfortable with the safety and quality provided by Little Raiders. She said, “As if the convenience of the program wasn’t enough, I never once doubted the safety of the program, nor the quality of the education my children received. Our daughters developed strong relationships with the multiple educators that worked with them through the years; they often speak fondly of the teachers and assistants in their preschool classes. My husband and I felt that each of our daughters left the Little Raiders program well prepared for the next level of their education. We received frequent appropriate feedback about our children’s progress throughout the year. We were very happy with the educational experiences that they were offered through the Little Raiders preschool program, and we could not have asked for more!”

To participate in the Little Raiders Program, students must:

  • Be three years old by September 1st, 2020.

  • Be fully potty trained.

  • Have completed Immunization Records, Student Physical and Enrollment Packet submitted prior to the start of the school year.

The program offers multiple packages for full time and part time students varying from $25 to $40 per day. For a detailed list of cost options, click HERE.

Registration for the 2020-2021 school year is now open and will remain open until all slots are filled. The application can be found HERE.

If you would like to visit the classroom, Prince said, “Once the stay at home order is not in place, I would be happy to set up tours with individual families!”

For more information, visit the Little Raiders Preschool website or contact Little Raiders Preschool Director/Teacher Laura Prince at (517) 647-2991, extension 5213, or by email at

Sponsored Content: Funding for this article was provided by Little Raiders Preschool.

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