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