Cooperative Preschools

For children who are 3 – 5 years old by August 31.

teacher smiling while children play

Overview

We sponsor seven cooperative preschools, in six cities on Seattle’s Eastside. Our preschools are very hands-on, play-based, and experiential because that’s how children learn best. Parents work in the classroom periodically and attend monthly parent education sessions.

Watch this video to see what our co-op preschools are all about!

What your child will experience at a coop preschool:

Preschool activities are full of learning and exploration. Children are guided by a trained, experienced teacher, with parents assisting. The programs are play-based because brain development research shows children most effectively learn skills and retain information through hands-on exploration in environments where they feel safe and free to explore.

For online preschool, children will have 30 – 60 minutes of class content for each day they are signed up for class. This will include interactive online circle times on Zoom with the whole class, typically around 30 minutes long, scheduled at convenient times throughout the week. Group times include songs, movement games, stories, show and tell, and opportunities to engage in conversations with their teachers and classmates to practice social skills.

They may also have online small groups or online one-on-ones with the teacher, to allow for maximum interaction with the teacher. Some preschools  offer some asynchronous learning – custom made videos or other activities that families can fit into their schedule wherever convenient and repeat as often as they choose. Specific schedules are set by each preschool – see their websites for details. Here is a summary of schedules and fees as of January 2021.

Also, teachers will provide ideas for optional activities parents can offer at home that cover the range of child development/learning needs.  Ideas may be communicated by email, or during online circle time, or via an app like Seesaw. Some activities will be intended for children to do independently with minimal parent support, but some will be parent-child projects so you have the opportunity to learn together. Some co-ops may offer packets of materials for monthly pick-up,  as well as guidance and helpful suggestions.

For in-person, children attend for 2 to 4 days a week, with 2 – 3.5 hours of class time per day, depending on their age, and on the programs at that preschool. In the classroom, there are several engaging and developmentally appropriate learning activities set up, and children are encouraged to move around and explore at their own pace. Your child can create art, practice drawing and writing, build with blocks, engage in pretend play, explore new materials, gain academic skills, practice social skills at the snack table, play on the playground or join indoor large motor activities, and attend field trips. Classes also include a group time where students sing songs, explore musical instruments, play movement games, and work on early literacy skills. They also practice paying attention to a teacher and participating in show and tell presentations and group activities, essential skills for kindergarten readiness and lifelong school success. Our cooperative preschools are all independent organizations, so please check their websites for more specific details.

What parents will get out of the co-op experience:

Parents attend monthly parent education classes, which cover topics like developmental milestones, emotion coaching, positive discipline, managing screen time, and sibling rivalry. Parent meetings help to create a supportive community of families, who build close connections and long-lasting friendships. Meetings are held in the evening, with the monthly business meeting for the co-op.

Parents also participate in the classroom with their child. This lab experience helps parents develop a better understanding of their own child and other children, they learn from the children’s teacher and the parent educator how they can best support children’s learning in class and at home, and they can observe their child’s developing social skills.

How co-op works:

Parents play an essential role in the school’s success. You attend mandatory monthly meetings and participate in the business of the non-profit preschool. Your additional responsibilities vary a little from school to school, but, in general, for online classes might include assistance with administrative tasks, planning, or preparing take-home materials for pick-up. For in-person classes, tasks would include assisting in the classroom 2 – 4 times a month, serving on the board, providing snacks, helping with classroom clean-up, taking photos, and more.

Your participation in class helps us to offer a lower cost preschool, but it also gives you a deeper connection to the community and to your child’s learning. The best part of co-op preschool is having your child clearly see that their education is important to you. Research clearly indicates that meaningful parent involvement in schools is a powerful predictor of high student achievement and healthy development.

 

Locations:

In Spring 2021, all programs are online. When we return to in-person classes, our coops will meet at their facilities in Bellevue (Eastgate, Bellevue-Overlake), Issaquah, Mercer Island, Renton (Sunrise), Sammamish (Pine Lake), Snoqualmie (Alpine). Here’s an overview map of all of our locations.

Age requirements:

Classes are for three, four or five-year-olds. Your child must reach the minimum age for the class by August 31st.  Children are not required to be potty trained to attend, but diaper changing may require parental assistance.

How to Learn More about a Specific Program / How to Register

Our co-ops are independent programs and differ in policy, schedule details, and tuition cost. Check out each school’s individual website to learn details. You can also email the registrar with questions not answered on the website. To find links, check our Locations, Websites and Registrars page. We also have a video of our “meet and greet” session.

To register, contact the registrar for the program of your choice. Registrars are parent volunteers. Be patient as you wait for a response. If the registrar does not respond (perhaps they’re on vacation), contact the parent educator at that preschool for interim assistance.

Cooperative Preschool classes start mid to late September and run through May each school year. Here is our schedule for online preschools as of March 2021. Here is the schedule for 2021-2022.

Viewing from a mobile device? Scroll right to see full content of the tables below.

Co-Op LocationItem#AgeRegistrarAvailability
Mercer Island Learning Lab70463'sWilliamOpen
Mercer Island Learning Lab70564'sKimOpen
Mercer Island Learning Lab70594 3/4 - 6'sKimOpen
Bellevue - Overlake70513's and 4'sDianaOpen
Bellevue - Eastgate70483's and 4'sKaelynOpen
Renton - Sunrise70573's and 4's
NoraOpen
Issaquah 3's70403'sJeannineOpen
Issaquah Pre-K70504'sAlaniOpen
Pine Lake
Sammamish
70443's, 4'sRadkaOpen
Alpine
Snoqualmie Valley
70523's
4's & 5's
LindsayOpen

What Parents Say About Our Preschools

I don’t think our transition to kindergarten would have been the same without co-op and all their support and kindness. My son is so excited about school. I appreciate your passion for helping families raise the best children we can.

I have had such an unexpectedly exceptional experience in my years here. After going to 3 other preschools in my time as a mom, I’ve found my place! The teachers are fantastic, the activities are diverse and engaging and the kids have a fantastic time. Doesn’t hurt that it is affordable!

Last Updated March 17, 2021