Cooperative Preschools

teacher smiling while children play

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


We sponsor nine cooperative preschools, in seven cities on Seattle’s Eastside. Depending on age, your child would attend 2 – 4 days per week, for 2 – 3.5 hours per class session. 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 co-op preschools are all about!

What your child will experience at a coop preschool:

Preschool days 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 learn skills and retain information best through hands-on exploration in environments where they feel safe and free to explore.

Each day when your child arrives at class, they will find several stations set up with developmentally appropriate activities to help them build the skills they need. Children are encouraged to move around and explore at their own pace. Your child will create art, practice drawing and writing, build with blocks, engage in pretend play, explore new materials and experiences, gain academic skills that form the foundations of mathematical and scientific learning, play on the playground or join indoor large motor activities, go on field trips, make new friends, build social skills, and get excited about learning and about school.

Classes also include a circle time or gathering where the teacher leads the students in singing songs, playing musical instruments, 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.

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

In our classes, both parents and children learn by doing.

When parents work with kids in the 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 play out. The children’s teacher and the parent educator mentor parents in ways to effectively support children’s learning, in the classroom and at home. Parents get ideas for activities they can do at home to extend the learning.

Parents attend monthly parent education classes. They are typically held in the evening, in conjunction with the monthly business meeting for the co-op. They include lectures, videos, and discussion of topics such as: developmental milestones, emotion coaching, positive discipline, managing screen time, sibling rivalry and family relationships, and foundations for school success.

Parents are also part of a supportive community of families, building close connections and long-lasting friendships.

How co-op works:

In a cooperative preschool, parents play an essential role in the school’s success. Your responsibilities as a parent vary a little from school to school, but, in general, include:

  • Periodically assisting the teacher in the classroom (typically: 2 – 4 times a month, depending on your child’s age and the size of the class). You might help with art projects, general supervision, and clean-up.
  • Providing snacks several times a year and helping with periodic classroom clean-ups
  • Attending mandatory monthly meetings and participating in the business of the non-profit cooperative preschool
  • Taking on an administrative job: serving on the board, taking pictures, making play-dough, organizing field trips, etc.

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.

My daughter started from not wanting me to leave her side to not wanting me to pick her up until outside playtime is done! I was able to stay with her through the transition and the teachers and other parents made me feel welcome and part of a real community.

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!


Bellevue (Crossroads, Eastgate, Bellevue-Overlake), Carnation, 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.  Children are not required to be potty trained to attend, but diaper changing may require parental assistance.

How to Register or Learn More about a specific program:

Our co-ops are independent programs and differ in policy, schedule details, and tuition. Check out each school’s individual website to learn details. To find links to websites, click on the location name in the table below, then on the next page, click on the link you’ll see in the blue box.

Registration policies also vary between the co-op preschools. Contact the Registrar listed for the co-op class of your choice to register. You can also contact the registrar to learn about open houses, observation times, costs, or other specific information not available on their website. 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 Gabriel, the registrar for our infant and toddler classes, for interim assistance.

Cooperative Preschools Class Schedule for 2019-20

(On mobile devices: scroll to the right to see the full content of the table below.)


Co-Op LocationItem#AgeDay & TimeRegistrar
Mercer Island Learning Lab70463'sT,Th
Mercer Island Learning Lab70564'sM,W,F
Mercer Island Learning Lab7059Explore More
4 3/4 - 6's
Bellevue - Overlake70513's and 4'sT,W (3's and 4's)
Optional STEM for all ages
T 12:00-1:30p
Th (4's only)
BC Crossroads Preschool
70423's to 5'sM,T,W
with optional M,W 11:30-1:15
STREAM classes
BC Crossroads Preschool
7043Pre-K, 4's and 5'sM 12:15-2:30p
(Register for 2, 3 or 4 class times in combination with 7042)
Eastgate Co-Op
70483's and 4'sW,Th (3's and 4's)
9:30a–12:00p Optional STEAM
for all ages Th 12:00-1:15p
F (4's only)
Sunrise Co-Op
70573's and 4's
STEAM class T,W,Th 12:00-1:15p
Sunrise Co-Op
70584's only (age 4 by 8/31/19)F 9:00-12:00p
Issaquah Co-Op 3's70403'sT,Th
Issaquah Co-Op Pre-K70504'sT 12:30-2:45p
W,F 9:30a-12:00p
Pine Lake Co-Op
70443's (3 by 8/31/19)T,Th
Pine Lake Co-Op
7054Pre-K (4 by 8/31/19)M 9:15a-1:00p
W and F
Sammamish Art & Science Enrichment Lab
70453 1/2 - 6 years old by start of sessionT 1:00-3:00pLauran
Alpine 2nd Year Toddler Co-op 70362's (2 by 8/31/19)W 9:30-11:30aEmily
Alpine Co-Op
Snoqualmie Valley
70523's (3 by 8/31/19)
4's & 5's (4 by 8/31/19)
T, Th 9:30-11:30a
T,W,Th (4's & 5's only) 12:00-2:30p
Carnation Co-Op
Snoqualmie Valley
70493's to 5'sT (3's and 4's) 9:30a-12:00 noon
W (4's only) 9:30a-12:00 noon
Th (3's and 4's)
9:30a-12:00 noon
Note: Co-operative Preschool classes start mid to late September and run through May each school year.

Last Updated March 26, 2020