History of the School

    Lee Owen Stone Preschool (LOS) began as St. Philip’s Cooperative 
    Preschool in 1965 as a project of the Episcopal Church of Oregon.  
    Situated in St. Philip’s Church in Portland’s Albina area, the school 
    was intended to provide cultural and educational enrichment in a 
    loving atmosphere for neighborhood children who were entering 
    public school with serious deficiencies.  With the advent of Project 
    Head Start in 1967, St. Philip’s was left with excellent facilities, toys 
    and equipment, a talented teacher, and no children.  A small group of 
    parents in the area refused to let all this be wasted, and they decided 
    to form a cooperative preschool.

    From the beginning, the school set an unusual and ambitious goal – 
    the inclusion of disadvantaged Albina-area children in a parent-run, 
    tuition-supported preschool.  Many of these children were from 
    families whose income was slightly over the federally established 
    poverty level.  In effect, these children were being denied a preschool 
    experience because they were neither poor enough for Head Start nor 
    affluent enough to afford the modest tuition charged by other 
    cooperative preschools.

    During its first few years as a cooperative, the school faced financial 
    collapse several times.  Although the school fell under the 
    organizational umbrella of the Episcopal Church, it was, and is, an 
    independent agency.  This autonomy is highly valued by the 
    membership in order that the group retains control over the policies 
    and practices of the school.  Through the efforts of Father L.O. Stone, 
    vicar of St. Philip’s Church, many cash gifts were obtained from 
    Episcopal churches in Oregon.  These funds were used to provide 
    tuition scholarships for children unable to qualify for Head Start.

    At the core of the preschool’s philosophy is a respect and love for the 
    individual child, his own unique personality, and the many factors that 
    have made him the special human being that he is.  While great value 
    is placed on each child’s educational development, the Lee Owen 
    Stone Preschool provides much more for its members.  Every child is 
    encouraged to develop a high level of respect for himself, his 
    classmates, and the world around him.  Self-confidence and a regard 
    for the rights of others are stressed equally.  

    It is each parent’s hope that his child grows into an understanding, 
    sensitive adult.  The membership believes that young children need to 
    experience close relationships with a variety of people: children need 
    to have friends richer than they and poorer, black friends and white, 
    friends from close by and from across town; only through these close 
    human contacts can we hope to fend off the effects of fragmentation of 
    the human community.  

    The responsibility of building person-to-person bridges is not left to 
    the children – family picnics, monthly membership meetings, social 
    evenings, play dates and other activities have brought together 
    parents who would not otherwise encounter each other.  The individual 
    families that make up the membership of the preschool vary in 
    income, education, race, religion, and ethnic background, but they 
    share a faith in man’s ability to see and to go beyond the walls of 
    mistrust and prejudice.  

    Although Lee Owen Stone Preschool has moved on from St. Philips 
    Church, the philosophies and beliefs of its founders have stayed the 
    same.  We believe that our children can learn respect for others, 
    compassion, and self-confidence in a safe, caring, play-based 
    environment.  All the policies and practices of LOS are aimed at 
    providing the highest possible level of educational facilities within a 
    framework of social diversity.

    The school is a member of the Parent Child Preschools of Oregon as 
    well as other early-childhood educational groups.  Funds are set 
    aside annually for the continuing education of its teacher and parents.  
    Throughout the school year meetings are held to review policy, 
    discuss current operating problems and to present educational 
    programs of interest to the parents of preschool children.  A board of 
    directors working closely with the school’s teacher provides additional 
    oversight.

    Lee Owen Stone Preschool is certainly not a grand-scale program 
    aimed at putting an end to the ills of the world.  It is simply an active 
    attempt by a relatively small number of families to ensure that in the 
    course of their children’s preschool education a solid foundation of 
    self-confidence, acceptance, understanding and brotherhood may be 
    laid.  We are building people-to-people bridges and it is our profound 
    hope that the practices, policies and philosophy of the school shall 
    endure.

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