Ready or not, here comes school! We take a hard look at what Oregon lawmakers *think* rising kindergarteners should know before they start school, plus we’ve got great back-to-school book recommendations. And that’s not all — August is also our annual baby issue, this year with a rundown on some of the best places to give birth (from a local writer who really knows — she went into labor on the day she handed in her story. Now that’s dedication!). Plus, you’ll find our illustrated guide to great baby gear you can buy locally, recipes for late summer salads, and so much more!
Straight talk on redshirting for kindergarten, the best family bug sprays and our top picks for destination playgrounds.
Ready or Not
Is your kid “ready” for kindergarten? Read this to find out.
Dancing in the dark with The Boss.
Build your own accordion-style book, just in time for back to school.
A trio of fresh salads, starring late-summer veggies.
The Suite Life
Breaking down where to give birth in the Portland metro area.
How to look just as cute as your new baby, in pictures.
A local woman’s birth story, in comic-strip form.
August really has a way of highlighting the changes in your family. Last year my daughter was excited, but slightly nervous about not knowing the other kids as she started preschool. Now she’s talking proudly about moving up the next rung to become a “senior” with her friends. Instead of sleeping in and taking our kids to swim lessons and the park, my husband, who’s an educator, will return to setting his alarm to 5:30 am as he heads back to work. And this time last year, my 18-month-old son wasn’t even crawling, let alone pelting through the house like a force of nature, strewing Duplos in his wake.
Another big change is on the horizon for us — my daughter heads to kindergarten next year. For me it’s a fine line between making sure she’s prepared and pushing her on an endless race to rack up achievements. Reading over the ways to help a preschooler get set for kindergarten in writer Kat Merck’s story, Ready or Not, (page 14) did help ease my anxiety — a little! Meanwhile, if one of the changes in your family is getting ready for a new baby, you’ll want to read The Suite Life on page 34, by Erin J. Bernard. She breaks down some of the first-class labor-and-delivery suite options in the Portland area — and incidentally she turned in her story the day she went into labor. We’ve also compiled an illustrated list of some great layette and gear pieces to help postpartum moms feel like their old selves and make the transition to becoming a bouncing, feeding, diaper-changing rock star a little easier, page 38. So no matter what type of changes are underway in your house as summer slowly fades to fall, we’re right there with you.
— Denise Castañon, Managing Editor
On our cover: Local photographer Nick Macdonald of Perfect September Photography shot this month’s cover at Rigler Elementary School in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland. We think it captures the essence of back to school — back to friends and fooling around on the playground, together. This is a sneak peek of a photo essay we’re cooking up for our October issue — in the meantime, see more of Nick’s great work at perfectseptember.com.