Portland, Maine

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Education + Kids

Portland is a great place to raise a family. The setting enables kids to experience the best of a city, suburban, and rural upbringing. Sara Corbett, a freelance writer for The New York Times Magazine and mother of three, says, “One of the things that I really like is that we’re raising our kids in a city environment so they’re exposed to all sorts of people doing different things. At the same time, we have access to phenomenal beaches. Even in the middle of winter we’ll take our kids down to the beaches. There’s a really nice balance, to be able to give them a little of all of that.”

For some ideas on kid-friendly activities and outings in the Portland area, check out the Portland, ME: 50 Things to Do With Kids Before They Grow Up list on the Alpha Mom blog. For affordable activities, check out Groupon’s deals on things to do in Portland.

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Education for Kids

Access Maine keeps a database of local special education, learning disability, and mental health resources for parents and youth.

About 5,000 Maine children are homeschooled each year. Start here for an overview of state requirements.

Maine Unschooling Network describes itself as a “a secular community of whole-life learners, autodidacts, and radical unschoolers of all ages, questioning and living free of institutional education.”

Math Affect is a private consultancy that uses “neuroscience based learning interventions” to help kids with math and other academic challenges on the full range of the educational spectrum. Contact Cristina Cumming at 207-233-2564.

Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest and most diverse school district serving nearly 7,000 students from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, and more than 4,500 adult learners. There are ten elementary schools (two located on islands), three middle schools, and four high schools, including King Middle School and Casco Bay High School, which both operate on an expeditionary learning model. This quick fact sheet provides additional information about the district.

The city is also home to a number of private day schools that serve students from early childhood through grade twelve. For a comprehensive list, peruse this list of public and private schools on Wikipedia.

Sports and Recreation for Kids

Aikido of Maine offers Aikido instruction for children ages three through seventeen.

Casco Bay Movers has dance classes for children and teens including hip hop, modern, and jazz.

The City of Portland website has a list of all the playgrounds in Portland, with links to further information.

Discovery Martial Arts has martial arts and self-defense classes for children of all ages.

Maine Premier Soccer is Portland’s Premier Development League soccer team, offering a junior program and camps for all ages.

Portland Ballet offers ballet classes for youth and sponsors CORPS, a program that enables Portland High School students to study performing arts alongside traditional academics.

The Portland Department of Recreation sponsors a variety of classes, camps, and sports programs for kids and teens.

Portland Ice Arena has public skating hours from June through April and ice-skating lessons for ages four and up.

Portland Porpoise Swim Club is a private swim team for kids elementary through high school age.

The Portland YMCA offers many different programs for kids year-round, along with childcare services.

Rippleffect offers a variety of outdoor summer youth programs including multi-day kayaking trips and outdoor leadership seminars.

Sail Maine is a community sailing program with an educational focus, offering programs for kids, adults, and people with special needs.

Spiral Tree Yoga offers classes for families and kids ages 2 to 12, as well as yoga birthday parties.

The Racket and Fitness Center offers tennis programs for kids ages six and up.

Cultural Resources for Kids

Appolon School of Music and Art offers group and private violin and cello lessons, a chamber orchestra program, and music theory classes.

 The Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine has a full roster of events for the younger set, from story hours and science challenges to cultural cooking classes, as well as ongoing educational programs and summer camps.

Cultivating Community has programs and internship opportunities for young farmers and green thumbs, including the Youth Growers program for ages fourteen to seventeen, which provides hands-on experience with all aspects of the growing cycle, from planting to distribution.

The Language Exchange has immersion Spanish classes for children ages four through fourteen, and instruction for teens and older learners in eleven other languages, ranging from Swedish to Portuguese. They also encourage homeschoolers to get in touch about language instruction.

The Maine Academy of Modern Music is a statewide independent music school focused on rock and contemporary music. Portland programs include music lessons, the rock band ensemble program, and summer rock camps.

Oak Street Studios, an art institute for young people, offers weekly classes for kids throughout the year, as well as summer camps.

Portland Conservatory of Music offers group and private lessons, as well as summer camps focusing on a variety of musical genres, from world music to jazz and rock.

Portland Museum of Art hosts exhibits and special events for kids and families throughout the year, as well as summer Museum Art Camps.

Portland Pottery has classes for kids and teens throughout the year and summer camps focusing on clay sculpture, metalsmithing, fiber arts, and a variety of other disciplines.

The Telling Room is a non-profit community writing center for young writers ages six to eighteen, with after-school tutoring and open writing hourswriting workshops, a Super Famous Writers Series, and field trips.

Internships

The Maine Arts Commission provides a list of arts-related internship opportunities in Portland and throughout the state.

Maine Campus Compact provides information on a variety of of sustainability internships, as well as other sustainability-related opportunities including the anti-poverty AmeriCorps VISTA program.

To learn about video production and editing, web production, graphic design, or animation and gaming internships, contact Kate Sibole, Chair of Communications & New Media Studies at SMCC, (207) 741-5768 or ksibole@smccme.edu.

For communications internship candidates, contact USM Communications Intern Organizer Russell Kivatisky, russellk@maine.edu.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

Maine College of Art (MECA) offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, a Post-Baccalaureate in Art Education, as well as Continuing Studies for adults and kids, including a Pre-College intensive for high school students.

Maine Technology Institute (MTI) has seven Technology Centers across the state to provide business incubation and help nurture young, entrepreneurial companies in Maine, including the Target Technology Incubator at the University of Maine campus in Orono and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, at the University of Southern Maine, in Portland.

Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers intensive fifteen-week programs in documentary writing, radio, and photography for undergraduate and graduate students.

Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) offers nearly forty areas of study including business, health, education, the arts, trades, and the natural and social sciences.

University of New England (UNE), with campuses in both Portland and Biddeford, offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

University of Southern Maine (USM) offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, with more than seventy areas of study.

Adult and Continuing Education

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is a national network of adult learning facilities with an outpost at the University of Southern Maine. The center offers classes, workshops, special interest groups, and extracurricular activities for adults and seniors.

Portland Adult Education offers academic, community life, and job skills courses.

Explore the world through books at the beautiful, newly renovated Portland Public Library.

The Language Exchange offers courses for adults in twelve languages, from Portuguese and Polish to Russian and Korean.
Maine College of Art Continuing Studies has open-enrollment courses for adults and teens from printmaking to graphic design to interior design.