UpROOTing

Throughout several blog posts dating all the way back to my pregnancy with Liam, you have heard me mention our childcare center, ROOTS. I am devastated to announce that our beloved ROOTS is closing next month and we are now on a desperate hunt for new childcare.

Herein lies the problem. How are we ever going to find someplace with ALL that ROOTS gave to us with Liam? There were little perks like non-toxic cleaning and a priority to being eco-conscious (and bestowing this onto the children).

And then there were the big things. Liam had been there since he was 8 months old. Some of his buddies from ROOTS he knew from infancy because of our postnatal classes at Birth Roots (confusing, but a different organization than our childcare center), and many of his dear friends that he sees 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day, he met at ROOTS.

They met when they were 6 months old and now go to ROOTS together. Liam is in the brown and his best buddy, Wyatt 1st from the left.

Hugging friend, Maren, at ROOTS

The staff has been the most loving, spirit-nurturing group I could have ever hoped for. While there have been faces coming and going they were carefully selected individuals who knew the names of every child in every room, not just the ones under their own care.

Laying down for a nap at ROOTS and snuggling with Miss Meggie

Oh, Miss Meggie, you’re way more fun than napping!

Every day Liam was exposed to art, yoga/movement, free play, exploration, books, learning, nature, and music. Not only world-wide genres on the ipod, but singing, drums, guitars.

A REAL guitar, for me?? (At ROOTS)

Art project in the Toddler Room at ROOTS

9 months old, finger painting at ROOTS

The outdoor space at ROOTS didn’t have your typical primary-colored play structure. It had a boat, a giant sandbox, a play house, stepping logs, a garden, a water table, and toys to explore with.

Liam & Eve playing outside at ROOTS

Toddler Room friends in the boat at ROOTS

The staff, or “guides” in each room have hand-written or typed a daily journal for each child, including pictures. Where else can I find a childcare place willing to do this? Sometimes, if I am not running late, I will stay for morning circle time with Liam and join in on the songs. It ALWAYS takes me at least half an hour to collect Liam at the end of the day because I’m chatting with the guides and other parents picking up, or playing with Liam and his friends. They go for walks around the neighborhood, to playgrounds and to the library. In the infant room, where Nora would have been starting next month, the guide will wear a baby in an Ergo or Moby wrap, rotating the babies in the buggy and the one being worn. They are familiar with, and use, baby signs for communicating. Liam has an impressive vocabulary, knows letters, and has learned about things like sea life, and the butterfly’s life cycle. He throws down the best Downward-facing Dog and Triangle yoga poses I’ve ever seen. His natural ability for music is nurtured and excelled by guides who play the guitar, drumming circles, and dance parties. The guides will integrate montessori activities, like using fine motor skills to place objects from one container to another with tongs. Liam has an imressive art portfolio at 2 years old.

If anyone knows of any childcare facility even remotely close to this stature in Portland, please, PLEASE contact me and give me the information! Not only will we miss our community and excellent care at ROOTS, but I am having a massive anxiety attack about what I will do for childcare. I begin working again at the end of August and I need to transition an infant into a place that I’ll be unfamiliar with. Liam will have to transition to a place where he won’t have friends and caretakers he’s known almost his entire life. Excuse me while I grab a paper bag and breathe with my head between my legs right now.

11 thoughts on “UpROOTing

  1. Oh dear…if you hear of any such wonderful place, do let me know too! We’re hoping to avoid childcare for baby H in the fall, but we may need something… GOOD LUCK!

  2. I am feeling the same way! (I actually remember Liam from our very first visit to ROOTS- he’s such a special little guy- and so clearly in his element there). Jasper has been there since he was 3 months old and has such good friends there – “Delia” was probably the first name he learned many months ago. We have been looking high and low and we are on a ton of waiting lists and might have just find a place a 20 minute drive away. We are starting to look into nannies a bit as well, though Pete works at home and it would be pretty distracting to have Jasper around all the time. Let us know what you end up doing! You are not the only one in a panic- that’s for sure!

    • We love Jasper! And for some reason Liam ADORES Peter. Whenever he sees Peter picking up Jasper he wants to follow him and say hi and see what he’s doing. I will keep you posted. Part of me wants to open a center in the Deering Center location with all of the things I loved about ROOTS, but even if I did do something crazy like that there’s no way I could get everything together in time for all of the ROOTS families to go from one to the other. So, we’re thinking of maybe Gorham for the time being (but it’s an inconvenient distance) but maybe also a nanny share situation and an in-home for Nora. And getting on some wait lists as well.

  3. Ok, I know it is not in Portland, but I moved my son from Roots to Ocean House At the Farm in Cape. At Ocean House, they do use mostly green cleaners, and the snack foods are not what I desire my son to eat (so I send my own), but the setting and staff are amazing! I know there is a waiting list, but since a lot of kids will be transitioning into the next year at the end of summer, it may be a good time for a move.

    I also had a neighbor that really likes Roots and Fruits in SoPo.

    Good Luck!

    • Thank you! I’ve heard of a couple of great recommendations in Cape Elizabeth…but boy is CE off the path. :\ Perhaps I will become desperate enough though! I also remember someone recommending Roots and Fruits too, so worth a look into both.

  4. :( I love that picture of Wyatt and Liam as little beans- you wrote 6 months, but it was 6 weeks! They have been together forever, and it breaks my heart to think of them apart. Sad. How blessed we have been to have had ROOTS be their first “school” experience.

  5. Thanks for writing this, Katie. Can we make some play dates? I’m sad to break up this awesome group of kids. I also loved that picture with Wyatt and Liam– they so look like themselves!

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