Community Arts Preschool has held accreditation since 1997

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Addison Giffith, Tess Devol and Clementine Warner enjoy a sunny day at Community Arts Preschool.One Lake Oswego school for the smallest of students again earned its accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

NAEYC, which sets professional standards for early childhood education programs, gives accreditation to schools such as Community Arts Preschool that have demonstrated a “commitment to excellence in early childhood education,” states the group’s website.

Community Arts Preschool, 368 S. State St., has kept its NAEYC accreditation since it first earned it in 1997. School owner Eileen Dietz announced last month that the school, which serves 120 students, again had met the NAEYC SUBMITTED PHOTO - Ethan Vedder, left, and Andrew Morris are Community Arts Preschool students.

Dietz said teachers help her perform assessments, and students’ parents also evaluate the school to ensure it meets NAEYC standards.

“There’s just a lot of revaluating what we are doing and what we could do better,” she said.

To garner accreditation, a preschool must meet criteria including a focus on helping children “develop a sense of competence and positive attitudes toward learning, such as persistence, engagement, curiosity, and mastery,” according to NAEYC documents.

Lake Oswego resident Jamie Lee said she loves how Community Arts Preschool teachers help children love learning, showing her 4-year-old, Devin, how to express himself.

Having him attend preschool “was really all about him being excited to go to school every day, and they have definitely done that,” said Lee, who teaches high school online.

Founded in 1981 in the Lakewood Center, where it remains, the Community Arts Preschool provides opportunities for children to explore art media, experience music, learn science hands on, frolic in a playground and play with games and puzzles that further fine- and large-motor skill development. Students also spend time together as a group performing plays and doing other activities.

School staff “take all of the different children and all of their different interests into account in how they set up the classroom and allow the children all to explore on their own,” said Lake Oswego resident Michele Hardin, whose 5-year-old and 4-year-old attend the school.

Hardin said she’s observed a tactile station where children play with sand or water, an art station where they use paints or chalk and an open table where they play with plastic animals. Her 8-year-old, the oldest of her three children, also attended the Community Arts Preschool. Hardin said she and her husband enrolled their children in a preschool to gain social skills, such as waiting in line and sharing.

“It’s just the most loving, caring place that I could find that I could put my kids that had the same philosophy as me,” she said.

The school’s philosophy, according to its website, centers on “children learning about their physical and social world in a way that is natural for them.”

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, .

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