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About Sprout

Welcome, Sprout Scouts, to the Sprout Academy at Southwest Community Center!

About the Program
The Sprout Academy is a school-year long educational preschool program at Southwest Community Center.  Our teaching philosophy is Children Learn Through Play, infused with hands-on lessons of what it means to be green and how we can each do our part.  By being role-models & leading by example, Sprout instructors teach students the importance of reducing, reusing, repurposing & recycling as well as simple concepts of sustainability.  Students cumulatively build on the lessons they have learned throughout the year and are well-prepared for their next adventure whether it be moving up to the 3’s class, going into Pre-K, or heading off to Kindergarten!

What is a Green Preschool?
In Spring of 2010, the Sprout Academy became certified Eco-Healthy by the Oregon Environmental Council.  In addition to our green-focused curriculum, the physical environment where our students learn is a healthy setting for their growing minds & bodies.  Sprout teachers, the program manager, and SWCC’s building director worked together to bring the classroom setting up to the OEC’s standards for an Eco-Healthy Child Care.  From the paint on the walls, to the cleaning products we use, to the educational materials on the shelves, Sprout Academy is a safe place for your child to learn & play. To learn more, visit the Oregon Environmental Council’s website on Eco-Healthy Child Care programs.

Our School Year
Sprout Academy follows Portland Public School’s calendar, however Sprout starts school later and ends a bit sooner than PPS.  Each September, SWCC undergoes routine building maintenance and is in a ‘Shutdown’ period for the 2 weeks that follow Labor Day.  Sprout classes begin the Monday immediately following this maintenance period.  We end school 2 weeks before SWCC’s summer camps begin to allow Sprout teachers to transition the classroom from an academic school setting to camp mode and to train our camp staff well & prepare them for the busy upcoming summer season.  Summer camps begin the Monday after PPS ends so we rely on the 2 weeks prep time to gear up for the thousands of children that join us for our spectacular camps each summer!  Aside from the late start and early end to the school year, we follow PPS’ Winter Break, Spring Break, in-service days, and all other days off during the school year.  We offer Kid’s Day Off Camps on days school is not in session.  Please see the Sprout calendar for specific dates.

Our afternoon 3’s class is located in the Poolside room at SWCC.   Because Sprout’s morning 3’s class has such great demand & many families waitlisted each year, we grew into the child-friendly space that houses SWCC’s drop-in Childcare in the mornings & early evenings.  Class is in session when childcare is not.   The remaining 5 of our 6 classes are held in the Kid Central room.  The patio area adjacent to the classroom is a beautiful alternative to structured play; we offer loose nature-play elements (varying sizes of stumps & logs to climb on and use for newly imagined & creative games) , Woolly School Garden pockets for each class to tend, and much more in the way of imaginative play!  All classes have access to this courtyard.  Away from the center, the surrounding greenscape of Gabriel Park is the perfect setting for daily educational nature walks and seasonal outdoor lessons. Sprouts also have a plot in the Gabriel Park Community Garden with regular garden visits, weather permitting.  The garden is a bit of a hike, therefore the 2’s classes will wait to visit the garden when they become 3’s & 4’s students in the coming years.

Donate &/or Volunteer
UPDATE:  The Woolly School Garden has been completely funded & installed as of Spring 2012!  Read here to see how we made this a reality for our students (the note below is where we started!).

Sprout is currently fundraising for a woolly pocket garden to be placed in the patio area outside of the classroom.  We are partnering with the nation-wide Woolly School Garden organization to raise an in-kind donation, and we NEED your help!  Please donate any amount to help us reach the modest $1000 goal that will make this a reality!  Each time you visit the center you will be able to see the garden outside of the classroom and know that you were part of reason Sprout students are gaining the life-skills to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs for years to come.  Photos of the garden’s progress will be posted on this blog.  To learn more & donate, please visit the Woolly School Garden website.  Volunteer opportunities may be available as well; please contact the program manager to learn how you can help at 503-823-2848.


Southwest Community Center
6820 SW 45th Avenue
Portland, OR 97219

Located in Gabriel Park, on the corner of 45th Ave and Vermont St.

Southwest Community Center: 503-823-2840
Sprout Academy Program Manager:   503-823-2848

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