top of page
Melissa Rollins Schaefer, Teacher/Founder

As a caregiver and teacher, I honor the unique human in every child.  I work to foster each individual's self-expression and creative genius, while also maintaining safety and facilitating harmony among the group. 


I have been working with young children all around the country for 20 plus years, both in preschools and in families' homes.  I opened Runabouts when I moved to Portland from Vermont in 2007.  I have an A.S. in Early Childhood Education from Cabrillo College and a B.A. in Alternative Education and Social Justice from Goddard College.  I have worked with many amazing mentor teachers, and attended countless workshops, classes, and conferences related to Alternative Education and Early Childhood-- including three times at the Good Stuff For Kids Conference with Bev Bos.  I continue to attend such events, read related books and literature, and engage in discussions with trusted colleagues.  In 2012, I decided to persue a lifelong dream of becoming a parent.  On December 31st, 2012 I had my first child!  She is incredible!


 I especially love working with families who value social justice, self-expression, creativity, and the Earth.

Bastien Mae Shanley, Co-teacher

Bastien is committed to furthering every child’s individuality through the arts, nature and play.  They believe in the importance of teaching children how to embrace their authentic selves. Bastien is constantly taking classes to further their own education and find new ways to reach the children.  Last year they worked on a project linking art to early literacy and raised Monarch butterflies.  At Bastien's last job they also did trainings on gender nonconforming and transgender children.  (Bastien also uses gender nuetral pronouns-- "they/them" rather than "she/her" or "he/him."


They are constantly learning that they are not the real teacher;  the children they work with surprise and inspire them daily and teach them how to best see the world and humanity.

Isaiah Jackson,
Active Play Specialist and Musician
Laurie Nadeau,
Grandma Nan,
bottom of page