Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.

Kidspace at Forest Park

Before & Afterschool Enrichment Childcare Program
for Kindergarten - 5th grade students
at Forest Park Elementary School

Our Mission

To create, build and maintain programs dedicated to the care, education, and positive development of school-age children during their out of school time. We emphasize life skills through community service and enrichment-based programming.

PJA Afterschool programs are committed to offering the highest quality care for our families. We strive to provide unique experiences that will strengthen each participating child’s cognitive, social, emotional, physical and creative development and we understand that, as caregivers, we must give children’s needs first priority. We respect the family as the primary and most important care provider and believe that parents, school, and afterschool are all partners in each child’s care, education and success. 

PJA Afterschool offers

  • Unique Monthly Themes
  • Community Building
  • Dedicated Staff
  • Low Staff to Student Ratios
  • Snacks in line with USDA guidelines
  • Fun Enrichment Activities
  • Opportunities for resting, relaxing, homework and reading
  • Well-equipped indoor activity areas for exploring: arts & crafts; drawing; science discovery; dramatic & imaginative play; board games; sewing, knitting & crocheting; building & construction
  • Large outdoor play areas for gross-motor development
  • Full Day Vacation Care with fun, educational themes or field trips

Our Programs

PJA Afterschool programs are enrichment-driven and choice-based. We provide students with a healthy balance of teacher-directed, hands-on activities and child-initiated, creative free play. In our teaching we utilize strategies that support the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations and backgrounds of the children in our care. Our fun enrichment projects expand on student learning and impart knowledge and skills that can be applied in the world at large. We encourage children to become active, self-confident and enthusiastic learners by focusing on the process of discovery.

Unique themes are introduced on a weekly or monthly basis and focus on ideas that may not be typically explored in the classroom, such as “Grossology: Fun with science!”, “Artstravaganza: Exploring the Arts!”, and “Culinary Adventures!” We also have themes that support community building.

Service Learning is a key component of our monthly programming and is integrated into our monthly themes. Our service learning projects encourage children to take part in their community, to learn about caring for one another, and to connect to the greater needs of humanity. Whether we are supporting our school communities by donating to the school auction, raising money for a special cause by selling child-made crafts, or making badges of honor & thank-you cards for teachers and school staff, our students are learning to give of themselves - a skill we hope they will continue to use once they leave our program.

Life Skills refers to the skills that we need to make good decisions so that we are managing and living our best life. We know the value of teaching these skills to children and we take care to ensure that our enrichment programming provides ample opportunity for students to learn and practice concrete skills like how to tie shoelaces, make healthy food choices, manage money, plan, organize and set goals. We also focus on the soft skills of developing empathy, leadership, conflict resolution, stress management, etiquette and good communication. Our goal in focusing on life skills is to prepare students for the everyday situations of life as well as for more abstract, long-term choices.


Our Staff

We believe the strength of our programs lies in the dedication of our caring teaching teams. We support our afterschool educators with continued professional development opportunities, resources, and the freedom to use their passions and skill sets to create unique learning experiences for the children in our programs. All PJA Afterschool teachers are registered with the State of Oregon as required by law and all go through background checks. Every afterschool teacher is also equipped with multiple health and safety certifications including CPR/First Aid, Food Handling, and Recognizing/Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

Family Involvement

We aim to create a partnership between families and our afterschool educators for the benefit of every child in our program, and we promote and encourage daily communication. Our doors are open to caregivers at all times and we welcome families to drop in and observe, have snack, or just hang out with their child(ren).

Healthy & Nutritious Snacks

We are committed to serving food that is both appealing to children and supportive of their growth and development. We follow strict nutritional guidelines for school-age children established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, (USDA), the National Association for the Education of Young Children, (NAEYC), and the National Afterschool Association, (NAA). Snacks include at least two of the following options: juice, fruit, vegetables, dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), non-meat protein (beans, nut or seed butter), or a grains portion (crackers, pretzels, bread, etc.). All snacks served are Kosher. Water is ALWAYS available.

Hours of Operation

September through June, Monday - Friday
K-5 Before Care Program – 7:00 - 8:00 am
K-5 Afterschool Care Program - 2:15 - 6:00 pm