January 2023 Covid-19 Update: In July 2020, the Understory re-opened and operated under Emergency Authorization during the Covid-19 State of Emergency. The school operated at full capacity, with extensive safety measures in place. As of January 2023, we are still fully up and running. Some of the safety measures have become a permanent part of operation, others have been put on hold. Masks (in some situations) and vaccines are an important part of how we keep each other healthy and safe! Please call or use the contact form for more information.

The Understory is a learning environment for children ages 3-5 years, also known as preschool, also known as a nursery school.

The Understory is a fun and cozy place, homelike and interesting.

The Understory is a community of young children, led by a wise and loving teacher.

The Understory is a garden for growing little people.

The Understory provides children with room to play and explore; nourishment for their bodies, hearts, and minds; friendships and social skills; fresh air and sunshine and earth and rain.

The Understory is a children’s garden as envisioned by the educator Friedrich Fröbel, who in 1837 created a “care, playing and activity institute for small children”, which he called kindergarten.

The Understory is a nursery for young children to be gently guided in their growth.



The Understory is located in the Hawthorne/Belmont area of Southeast Portland, just down the street from Sunnyside Environmental School (SES).    Children 3 and 4 years of age are invited join us!

Schedule & Tuition

School days are Tuesday-Friday 8:45am-12:45pm during the school year. For 2023-2024, tuition is $820/month. There are 10 equal payments during the school year (September-June).

To apply…

WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR. Please use the contact form to schedule a phone call and a visit.

Mia Pisano