Progressive education is a legacy of thoughtful practice recognizing that students learn best through real-life activities in collaboration with others. Curriculum throughout The Marylhurst School is child-centered, grounded in respect for the social and emotional aspects of the growing child, and framed around the essential questions children are grappling with at each developmental stage. Exploration of the following central questions informs classroom study and academic, emotional and social growth of children.

Preschool –       Autonomy: How do I become independent?

K-1st Grade –     Community: Where do I belong?

2nd-3rd Grade –   Relationships: With whom do I identify?     

4th-5th Grade –   Identity: Who am I?

6th-8th Grade –   Justice: What is the greater good?

Subject Areas

Marylhurst's committed to global citizenship is firmly rooted in progressive school philosophy, with a focus on developing each student in a well-rounded manner. We believe that specialist subjects are essential to education as a foundation for critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity. Students are encouraged to learn in ways that support and respond to their individual levels of growth in conjunction with the needs of the class as a whole.


Music is inspired by the Orff philosophy, which encourages children to experience music at their own level of understanding and in a natural environment of play. Children are encouraged to learn music through simple beats, chants, folk music, movement, drama, and by playing pitched and unpitched instruments.

Chanda Hall — Music Teacher

Chanda joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2013. A pianist and composer, she has taught music, dance, and theatre in various settings for the past 15 years. She holds a BA in Music from Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) and is the founder/Artistic Director of the award-winning theatre company Staged!. A passionate advocate for arts education, Chanda has taught thousands of children through her work at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Northwest Children’s Theatre, and Oregon Children’s Theatre. Chanda enjoys exploring different cultures, roaming the Oregon coast, and seeing plays with her husband and two little girls.


Physical Education promotes lifelong learning, proficiency in movement, knowledge and social skills. Students practice good sportsmanship by learning how to both win and lose gracefully. Health emphasizes, nutrition, self-confidence, development, and self-care. Classes range from learning traditional playground games in the early grades to promoting teamwork, fitness and healthy lifestyle choices in the upper grades.

Dawn Hotchkin — Fourth/Fifth Grade Teacher and PE Specialist

Dawn has been working with preschool aged children in Oregon and Nevada since 1999 and came to Marylhurst in 2007. From Nova Southeastern University in Florida, she has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology. She is also certified in Montessori Early Childhood Education. “I absolutely love teaching preschool-age children; I learn something new from them each day.”


Language and Multicultural understandings are taught through music, dance, world studies, folklore, food, language, and customs. We strive to help students develop an understanding of cultural diversity by dispelling misconceptions and stereotypes, and by challenging negative beliefs about themselves and others. Exposure to Spanish begins in kindergarten; formalized language instruction starts in second grade.

Mark Mask — Fours Preschool Teacher and Spanish Specialist

Mark joined the Marylhurst faculty in 2015, returning to the classroom after several years of working in the insurance and banking industries. After graduating in 1995 from Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, Mark joined Teach for America and worked as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Compton, California. Mark also taught in a Santa Monica private school and later worked at TFA’s New York City headquarters. Mark’s interests include baseball, jazz music, and historical architecture. Mark and his wife Sojourner have three children who are all Marylhurst students.


Ann Brown — Parenting Consultant

Ann has been a parenting instructor and consultant for thirty years. She has a BA in Ethnomusicology and Ethnic Dance from UC Santa Cruz and taught music and dance at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. She came to The Marylhurst School in 1996 after creating parenting classes and workshops for preschools and training as a Waldorf teacher in Los Angeles. In Portland, Ann has facilitated parenting classes and groups for the Hanna Anderson Family Foundation, led parenting workshops through the West Linn Library, and is a frequent presenter and workshop leader in schools. She writes about family life and current issues in newspapers, literary and family magazines, and her stories can also be heard on Public Radio International. In addition to her work as a parenting consultant, Ann has also recorded dozens of albums, including one of children’s music. Her singing can be heard on movie soundtracks and background vocals for various artists.