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. At all Bellevue College programs, parents and children learn together!

 

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.

Whether we’re meeting online or in-person, classes include a circle time where the teacher leads the students in singing songs, exploring musical instruments, playing movement games, reading stories and developing early literacy skills. This is a chance for children to practice paying attention to a teacher, and participating in a group activity, all essential skills for kindergarten readiness and lifelong school success. They will have an opportunity to show and tell, share stories from their week, and engage in conversations with their teachers and classmates.

In-Person (when health guidelines allow for a return to the classroom): Typically children sign up for 2 to 4 days a week, with 2 – 3.5 hours of class time, 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, play on the playground or join indoor large motor activities, and attend field trips.

Online (Fall 2020): 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. 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 will also 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 will be set by each preschool – see their websites for details.

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.

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. They are typically held in the evening, in conjunction with the monthly business meeting for the co-op.  In  fall 2020, parent education will be held online and will move to in-person as schools are allowed to open. Classes will include research-based information on topics such as: developmental milestones, emotion coaching, positive discipline, managing screen time, sibling rivalry and family relationships, and foundations for school success.  Instructors may use Breakout Rooms for small group discussion, and emphasis will be on collaborative learning among the group. Parents become part of a supportive community of families, building close connections and long-lasting friendships.

Parents also learn from the children’s teacher and the parent educator about how they can best support their child’s learning, both in a class, and in daily life at home. By participating in online classes or working with children in the in-person classroom, they develop a better understanding of their own children and other children: what’s developmentally appropriate, how temperament affects each child, and how social interactions between children can be nurtured.

How co-op works:

In a cooperative preschool, 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. You also take on additional roles.

Your responsibilities as a parent 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 option than many other preschools, but it also gives you a deeper connection to the community and to your child’s learning. The best part of a co-op preschool experience is having your child clearly see that their education is important to you, as you give it your most precious commodity – your time and attention. Research clearly indicates that meaningful parent involvement in schools is one of the most powerful predictors of high student achievement and healthy development.

 

What Our Students 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!

Locations:

In Fall 2020, all programs will be 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). Each co-op is a unique community of families. Here’s an overview map of all of our locations (as of spring 2020).

Age requirements:

Classes are for three, four or five-year-olds. Many classes are mixed ages (multi-age classes). Your child must reach the minimum age for the class by August 31st, prior to beginning class.  For in-person classes, 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:

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 to learn about specific information not available on their website.To find links, check our Locations, Websites and Registrars page.

How to Register for a specific program:

Cooperative Preschool classes start mid to late September and run through May each school year. Registration policies vary between the co-op preschools. Contact the Registrar listed for the co-op class of your choice to register.  You can find a link to the registrar’s contact info in the table below.

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 registrar for our infant and toddler classes, at parentedregistrar@bellevuecollege.edu, for interim assistance.

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

Co-Op LocationItem#AgeRegistrarAvailability
Mercer Island Learning Lab70463'sKimOpen
Mercer Island Learning Lab70564'sMichelleOpen
Mercer Island Learning Lab70594 3/4 - 6'sHyo-YangOpen
Bellevue - Overlake70513's and 4'sDianaOpen
Eastgate
Bellevue
70483's and 4'sRebaOpen
Sunrise
Renton
70573's and 4's
LauraOpen
Issaquah 3's70403'sEmilyOpen
Issaquah Pre-K70504'sAlaniOpen
Pine Lake
Sammamish
70443's, 4'sRadkaOpen
Alpine
Snoqualmie Valley
70523's
4's & 5's
LindsayOpen

Last Updated September 4, 2020