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 Amanda Soule's 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.
Read, learn, grow, and play at Portland Public Library. PPL has a strong (and long) tradition of serving kids & families with great collections, programs, and services designed to build kids’ love of reading and discovery, as well as engaging with parents, teachers, and other child educators. Every PPL location has a dedicated area just for kids, for reading, exploring, and enjoying their programs.
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 these 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.
EVO Portland has spring break and summer camps for kids, climbing programs for ages three and up, climbing teams for ages six to 19, a home school climbing class, and space for birthday parties.
Greenlight Studio offers an indoor play space for kids from birth to age six, with climbing structures, a stage for imaginative play, reading and drawing areas, Lego play tables, trains, a kid-size housekeeping area, and a place for crawlers to crawl. For adults, there's a cafe and espresso bar.
Maine Juniors Volleyball is a non-profit organization committed to the growth and development of youth volleyball in the state of Maine.
The Portland Department of Recreation sponsors a variety of classes, camps, and sports programs for kids and teens.
The YMCA of Southern Maine's Portland Branch offers many different programs for kids year-round, along with childcare services.
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.
Maine Kids Code is an after-school program for middle school students interested in coding and technology in the Greater Portland area. Students focus on creating interactive stories, making games, and on the intersection of technology, art, and music.
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.
Adult and Continuing Education
Continuing Studies at Maine College of Art has open-enrollment courses for adults and teens from printmaking to graphic design to interior design.
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.
The University of New England offers courses for continuing professional education in various health and pharmacy professions.
The University of Southern Maine's Professional and Continuing Education program has flexible options for adults to finish a degree or obtain professional development certifications.
Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
Maine Technology Institute (MTI) has seven Advanced Technology Development Centers across the state to provide business incubation and help nurture young, entrepreneurial companies in Maine, including the Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maine campus in Orono and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
University of New England (UNE), with campuses in both Portland and Biddeford, offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs.