The Marylhurst School building in Oregon CityThe Marylhurst School is an independent, progressive education community located in historic Oregon City. Founded in 1972, we serve 200 children in preschool through eighth grade. We embrace the creativity, questions and risk taking of childhood in a supportive, hands-on environment.
• Small classes, each with two full-time teachers who inspire learning and build relationships so that every child is truly known.
• Experiential, thematic studies which reflect our community of learners and the limitless opportunities in the world around us.
• Child-centered curriculum infused with poetry, gardening, art, science, tinkering, creative writing, music and play, all rooted in developmentally appropriate practice.
• Welcoming community that celebrates the unique contributions of students, families and faculty. The Marylhurst School: honoring the journey of each child.


All children travel a unique path. In our community of creators, explorers and citizens, we honor each journey.

At the Marylhurst School…

  • We support children to be innovative, resourceful and imaginative as creators.
  • We nurture curiosity, confidence, and courage as explorers.
  • We foster empathy, perseverance and ethics as citizens.


The Marylhurst School believes that children are naturally curious, intrinsically imaginative, and thrive when learning is active and meaningful. Teachers are inspired by children to create enriching environments that foster kindness, intellectual growth, and the joy of discovery. The Marylhurst School supports the development of a community that celebrates the unique contributions of our families, our school, and each individual child.

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Our school is built on mindful teaching, respect for the social and emotional life of the child and the understanding that knowledge is seeded through curiosity, experience and reflection. To that end we practice an emergent curriculum steeped in a progressive education model.


From its earliest design as a lab school at Marylhurst University, the school has honored the developmental time of childhood. In 1972 Delores Quinn, of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, established a school that put forth consideration for the individual—their intellectual wonderings, quality of character and creative expression. In 1986 the school was established as independent and relocated to historic Oregon City. After 40 years of excellence in early childhood education, our expansion welcomed the inaugural primary-grade class in 2012.

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Marylhurst programs are built on an emergent curriculum, which is a way of planning curriculum based on the student’s interest. To plan an emergent curriculum requires observation, documentation, creative brainstorming, flexibility and patience amongst the teachers. Classes are designed with the following values:

  • Mindful teaching creates an intentional stand-alone philosophy grounded in respect for the social and emotional aspects of the developing child.
  • Our philosophical foundation is guided by each developmental stage; taking pride in honoring and stretching childhood play.
  • Curriculum development is organically seeded through open-ended listening and community enrichment. As a result, our programs are well-connected and celebrate families.

Our teachers are experienced educators who care deeply about each child and family.  Faculty Profiles are available for all staff members.

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Marylhurst is proud to be a partner school with the Progressive Education Network; is accredited as a subscriber school member of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools; and is licensed by the Oregon Department of Education child-care division and recognized as a federal nonprofit 501(c)3.


After 29 years residing in the historic Barclay School Building of Oregon City, The Marylhurst School relocated across town in summer 2015. The Oregon City Police Department owns our current facility, the Mt Pleasant Elementary School campus, which the Oregon City School District closed in spring of 2013. The city intends to hold onto the eight-acre site until it can pass a bond measure and secure funds to build a new police facility. The campus is expected to remain unused for three to six years, and as such Marylhurst signed a three-year lease with the Police Department from fall 2015 through spring 2018. During that time, the Marylhurst Board will work to secure a permanent home for the school.

Mt Pleasant has the feel of a traditional elementary school. Walk through our doors and you’ll find the excitement and activity of many classes, artwork proudly displayed, children coming and going from the playground, parents greeting each other under the classroom flags lining the halls.

Tours and Enrollment

We would be glad to arrange a tour or talk on the phone about our wonderful programs.  See the Enrollment Page for information.  We look forward to meeting you!

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