Beyond Mary Poppins: Ideas for Portland Childcare

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Good help can be hard to find, especially when it comes to childcare. NW Kids is pleased to introduce several Portland-area businesses that make finding good childcare, well, easy peasy.

Sitter Soiree
Can you imagine going to a fabulous party and connecting with the perfect babysitter? It’s not too good to be true—it’s a Sitter Soiree! Sitter Soiree is a casual, fun mixer for parents and prospective babysitters held four to five times per year at local boutiques and other hot spots. Attendees nosh on delectable nibbles, shop Portland’s finest wares, and get acquainted in an absolutely no-pressure situation.

The Sitter Soiree team recruits qualified sitters and then invites parents to mix, mingle and connect with them at Sitter Soirees. The entry fee is $45 for each event; this covers the cost of the evening (except your shopping habit), and a “Sitter Book” which includes each candidate’s bio, contact information, references, rates and photo. When you need a sitter, you’ll have a pool of candidates at your fingertips.

It’s important to note that Sitter Soiree does not do background checks on the babysitters. They have their own criteria for selection, but parents should conduct their own screens to determine the best match for their needs.

My Little Waiting Room
Portland mother Amy Paterson was just 34 with a three year old, and battling cancer. She faced 144 medical appointments last year alone, meaning she had to arrange child care 144 times before she could begin to heal. This ordeal prompted her to join forces with Melissa Moore to create My Little Waiting Room, a project dedicated to creating low-cost, on-site, clean and safe child care in medical facilities. The lack of such childcare is surprising; after all, you can find it at Fred Meyer, many gyms, and Ikea!

Amy was named one of eight “2008 Pink Power Moms” in the nation by toymaker Bright Starts. She is one of seven women across the country “who has displayed amazing strength as a breast cancer survivor, fighting for a cure.” As part of this award, Kids II Foundation and Bright Starts donated $1,000 (and later, $23,000) to help open the first My Little Waiting Room to help mothers make — and keep — their important medical appointments.

Check out Amy’s blog for more news on this pretty incredible effort.

The Academy Theater Babysitting
Date night is making a comeback! And we’d like to * ahem * “thank The Academy” for offering childcare services so that parents can enjoy date night at the movies.

Here’s how it works. The Academy Theater offers babysitting Thursday through Sundays for shows that start before 8:00 pm. Babysitting is available on-site for children ages six months to eight years (limited number of spaces available for 6-14 month olds), at a cost of $7.50 per child. Please call (503) 252-1705 to reserve a spot for your child. No drop-ins please. A babysitting release form is required. Download the form, fill it out, and bring it with you when you visit.

The Academy Theater was recently renovated to star status. In addition to its authentic 1940s cinematic charm, the theater features three theaters with Dolby sound, reclining stadium seating with generous legroom and a plentiful selection of tasty offerings from Flying Pie Pizzeria.

The movies are second-run titles and the prices are reasonable: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors (65+) and $3 for kids (12 and under). For an even better deal, catch “Monday Movie Madness” and watch any two consecutive movies for only $6 ($5 for seniors and kids) or take advantage of “Two for Tuesdays” and buy one ticket, get one free.

WeVillage:Urban Playcare
Located in the heart of the Pearl District, WeVillage offers a safe and fun environment for kids ages 2-12 and a staff of caring, creative individuals who enjoy interacting and having fun with your child. Ready for a romantic evening on the town? WeVillage is open late on the weekends, so date night is covered!

Multnomah County Courtcare
Got a traffic ticket? Jury duty beckon? Drop your child off at Multnomah County CourtCare, a free service operated by Volunteers of America Oregon and funded mostly by the Multnomah Bar Association.

Did we forget your favorite? Share the love and tell us about it in the comment section below!