In 1976, a few members of a social-spiritual movement, Ananda Marga, aspired to create a place for children to learn through the Neo-Humanist model in education, and New Day School was born. The first preschool program featuring yoga and meditation began in the basement of a co-housing “yoga house” in Northeast Portland in 1976 with 6 students. In 1979, New Day School became a registered non-profit and was established in its current 1825 SE Clinton location.
New Day School is an ever changing entity bound by a single mission. The parents provide the backbone of the school, volunteering countless hours in service, from washing of laundry to building beautiful play structures. The teachers and staff are the lifeblood of New Day, giving their time, heart and commitment to growing themselves and the children they serve. The heart and soul of New Day are the children, bringing joy and the thirst for knowledge and life into the heartbeat of the school. Our history is one shared with more than 40 years of teachers, staff, families, friends, supporters and children who have made New Day School the fruitful environment that it is today and will be for many years to come.
For 40 years, the New Day community has continued to enhance the school and outdoor space. New Day purchased a nearby Victorian house for teacher and staff housing, added classrooms and developed its yard and playspace. Gardens and fruit trees have been added to the landscape and a beautiful natural earthen cob building was built as a sanctuary and special classroom. In 2008, New Day purchased the Mahavidya building and play yard next door allowing the school to grow to its current capacity serving up to 80 children per day.
In 2018, New Day School embarked on a renovation project of two of its three buildings. The first construction phase was a seismic retrofit of the Mahávidyá building(1847 SE Clinton), making it more resilient and safer during an earthquake. This renovation also included energy upgrades, lighting upgrades (including skylights), acoustic improvements, and new floors and paint. Phase Phase One was completed October 13th, 2018.
The second construction phase is the renovation of the Kishalay building(1825 SE Clinton) into a Net-Zero and Net-positive Energy building. At present, the design is complete and in review by the City for permitting. Construction will commence in the beginning of Spring 2019 and completion is anticipated by January 2020. Although the number of classrooms, offices and staff areas will remain the same, the layout will change and many important and exciting upgrades will occur, including: seismic upgrades, renewable energy production, high energy efficiency design, indoor air quality upgrades, and water conservation (low-flow fixtures, rain gardens). Further the project takes responsibility to use natural, non-toxic (Red-List free) and recyclable materials and will use sustainably-harvested wood (FSC certified). Our community is both how and why we are renovating our school.