Frequently Asked Questions
Read below to learn about:
- Age requirements for students / potty training requirements
- Sibling policies
- Parents’ role/expectations for involvement
- Staffing and adult to child ratios
- Cost for classes
- Visiting a class
- Enrollment questions – joining mid-year, waitlists
- BC Paperwork: SID number, BC email address, BC ID, tuition receipts
- Being a student in our program qualifies you for student services and discounts
- ADA Accessibility
- Ways to get more questions answered
- Coronavirus Protocols for 2021-22
What are the age requirements for classes?
Each type of class lists the age requirement in the class description. Ages are based on how old the child is in September when class begins. (So, in an infant class they are birth to 9 months in September, but in January, they would be 4 – 13 months.)
In the schedule tables at the bottom of each class description, you’ll see a range of birth-dates for each class. Age cut-offs typically require that the child has reached the minimum age by August 31 of the year when the class will begin. There are typically no exceptions to this minimum age.
Maximum ages are more flexible, and a child who is a little older than the recommended age can typically enroll as long as the parent feels that class content will be appropriate for their child.
Children are not required to be potty trained for any of our programs, including those for ages 3 and up and our preschools; however, parents are responsible for diaper / pull-up changes and other toileting issues. The most teachers are able to do is stand outside the bathroom and coach an older child through using the potty.
Can siblings attend with the enrolled child?
For online classes, we understand that older or younger siblings are in the home, and may wander by and listen in. That’s always fine. If the child is actively participating in the class and is in the age range for the class, we would ask that you enroll them.
For in-person classes, due to insurance regulations, siblings of enrolled students are not allowed to attend, with the following exceptions:
- If the sibling is within class age range, they may also enroll in the class. A lab fee discount is offered for the second child from a family in the same class.
- Infant siblings under 6 months may attend in a front-style carrier. Due to insurance regulations, babies are not allowed to be left in strollers, car seats or on the floor. Instructors may set time limits on how long a baby can attend (e.g. three months maximum), in cooperation with the parent.
- Siblings may attend specially scheduled Family Days if offered by the class.
- Some of our co-op preschools have a space available where younger siblings can be cared for by other parents when parents have a work day at the preschool. It is the responsibility of the involved parents to coordinate this care.
Which adults can attend with the child?
A parent or caregiver attends with the child. We welcome moms, dads, grandparents, nannies, au pairs, aunts, uncles, or siblings over the age of 18 to attend with the child. Ideally, for consistency’s sake, it is the same adult who is involved throughout the year, though there is some flexibility.
Some families like to have multiple adults attend on a regular basis. Some examples: in infant classes, two parents may both be on parental leave and enjoy attending together; in a toddler class, a nanny or grandparent attended with the child every week, and the parent came every other week to participate in parent education; in the evening and Saturday classes, often both parents choose to attend on a regular basis. If this is the case, both adults would be asked to pay college tuition ($55). In many of our classes the lab fees can be discounted $30 if both adults volunteer in the classroom.
Do parents attend every week? When is parent education? For in-person classes: Do parents work in the classroom? What are the other expectations?
Infant, Wobbler, and Toddler Classes:
- Parents attend each week with their child(ren).
- Parent education sessions are offered each week, or every other week. In infant classes, the baby typically remains with the parent for parent ed. In toddler classes, the children are encouraged to play, with the children’s teachers and other parents providing supervision, while their parent attends parent education in the same room or nearby. Children are always welcome to remain with the parent if they need to.
- Parents are asked to volunteer to provide snacks for all the children a few times a year. Parents may be asked to help tidy up the classroom.
Art and Science Enrichment classes (Creative Arts Lab, Family Inventors, Discovery Science Lab)
- Children attend weekly.
- For in-person classes: Parents assist in the classroom 6 – 9 times a year, including bringing snacks a few times each year. Parent education is held once a month during class meeting time OR is held online at a time separate from class. On days when the parent is not volunteering in the classroom or attending parent ed, they can drop off, or they may choose to stay. (Typically for our weekday classes – Creative Arts and Discovery Lab – most parents drop off. Our Saturday class – Family Inventors’ Lab – is typically the family’s fun activity for Saturday morning, so most parents stay.)
Cooperative preschools: Policies vary by age and site. But a typical example would be:
- Three-year-olds attend 2 or 3 days a week, four-year-olds attend 3 or 4 days a week. Typically, the parent stays with the child and works in the classroom a few days each month, and the other days are “drop-off” preschool for that family.
- Parent education is offered at a mandatory monthly meeting, usually held in the evening.
- In addition to assisting in the classroom during classes (a few days each month), parents help with the running of the school by: providing snacks (6-9 times per year), fundraising support, end-of-year cleanings, serving on the board (chair, treasurer, secretary, etc.), or as class photographer, play-dough maker, etc.
Who are the teachers? What is the adult to child ratio?
The Bellevue College program includes both parent educators and children’s teachers. Our parent educators are Bellevue College faculty. They are experienced educators, many with advanced degrees in social work, education, or psychology. They’re also all parents, so can offer realistic tips that really work. Our children’s teachers are typically experienced children’s teachers, many have training in early childhood education, and are hired by the individual class. They are responsible for planning and implementing a developmentally appropriate, engaging, play-based curriculum for the children, and they supervise the activities in each class.
Infant classes: Each class has a parent educator, a nutritionist and a music specialist. Toddler classes: Each class has a parent educator and one or more children’s teachers. Ratio: All parents attend with their child, so there are more adults than children.
Enrichment classes for 3 – 5 year-olds (Creative Arts Lab, Family Inventors): The children’s teacher is there every week. The parent educator attends at least twice a month. There are also parent volunteers each week. Adult to child ratio is approximately 1 to 4. (Note: at our Saturday Inventors’ Lab, most parents choose to stay and play every week, so we tend to have a ratio of 1 to 2 or so.)
Discovery Science Lab for 5 – 9 year-olds: At each class, there are one or two children’s teachers, a parent educator and 2 – 3 parent volunteers each class. Typical adult to child ratio is 1 to 5 or better.
Co-op preschools: Each program is overseen by a children’s teacher who leads every class. She is responsible for planning and coordinating children’s activities and leading group times. The parent educator attends once a week to observe the children and consult with the parents, and she offers a monthly parent education session at an evening meeting. With parent volunteers adult to child ratio is 1 to 3 to 1 to 5. [Note: at a typical, non-coop preschool, the ratio is between 1 to 6 and 1 to 9.]
What is the maximum class size?
It varies depending on the age of the child and the capacity of the facility. Typical is 18 – 22.
What do Programs Cost?
For every class, there are two components to the cost.
The first is college tuition of $55.23 per quarter* (fall, winter, and spring quarter – each are approximately 11 weeks long). Our classes are Bellevue College 3-credit classes, and parents receive a college level course in child development and parenting skills. This tuition is paid directly to the college, and provides for the parent educator’s salary.
There are also lab fees, as listed below. These cover: rent for the classroom site, salaries for children’s teachers, classroom equipment, and supplies such as craft materials.
Lab fees for Infants, Toddlers, and most Enrichment Classes: $130 per quarter for online-only classes, $205 per quarter for in-person classes, except Discovery Science Lab is $220. That $205 per quarter works out to around $9 an hour for a very high quality learning experience for parent and child, a bargain compared to hourly rates for most children’s classes in our community.
Cooperative preschools: Each of our cooperative preschools set their own lab fees and payment schedules. They are typically very affordable compared to most other preschools. Low cost is just one of many benefits of co-op.
Scholarships: The Bellevue College Parent Education Program offers scholarship assistance to qualified families once they are enrolled. Approved scholarships typically cover half the tuition for a class. Confidential applications are available through the class instructors.
What is your academic calendar? When does each quarter begin?
Fall quarter is approximately mid September to early December. Winter is typically mid-December to early March. Spring is approximately March to late May or early June. Schedules vary slightly from site to site, so coordinate with your instructor for exact details.
Where are classes held?
On our locations page, you’ll find addresses for all sites, directions, a map, and pictures of our classrooms.
Can I observe a class? Can I visit with my child to “try it out”?
Class visits: In a typical year, we allowed families to visit a class for 30 minutes, or gave tours of classrooms. Unfortunately, in 2021-2, our COVID protocols mean that no visitors are allowed in any classroom.
Open houses: Open houses are typically offered in January / February, May, and September. (Check our events page for current opportunities.) These may be in person or online, depending on current health guidelines.
What if the class is waitlisted?
If the class is marked as waitlisted in the class schedule, you can complete the registration form to be placed on the waitlist, and we will contact you if a space opens up. If you’d like, you can contact the instructor or registrar (listed on the schedule) to check how long the waitlist is, and your chances of getting a space.
Can I enroll in the middle of a school year?
Our classes are designed as school-year-long programs, meeting from September through May. Families are encouraged to continue for the full school year for maximum benefit.
However, we do continue to enroll throughout the year if there is space available in a class. If you’re looking to join a class that has already started, you can use our online registration form. If you have questions, you are welcome to contact the instructor / registrar for the class you’re interested in, listed on the class schedule.
BC Paperwork: Finding your ID number, getting an email address, an ID card
Your ctcLink ID (student ID number) is generally assigned when you are admitted. Look yours up.
If you need a BC email address, set one up. (It will ask for your ID and your PIN – your default PIN is your birthdate mmddyy).
Could I qualify for student discounts? Or student benefits?
If you are enrolled in any of our programs, then you are a Bellevue college student.
You may qualify for student discounts at a variety of businesses, such as Apple, Microsoft, Best Buy, Samsung, Adobe; Bed, Bath and Beyond; AMC and Cinemark; J. Crew, MAC and more. Learn more on CNBC and RetailMeNot. Local discounts include Woodland Park Zoo, MOPOP, SAM, BAM, and more.
Some discounts will require that you give your student ID#, BC email address, show an ID, or show a tuition receipt. See above for how to obtain these.
You also may qualify for some student services. Some of these may require that you be enrolled full time (i.e. in three of our classes), and you do not qualify for all student services because some require that you be on a degree track to qualify and our classes are not. Check with each of these services to verify your eligibility: library privileges, campus computer labs, counseling, career counseling, and priority for spots at the campus child care center.
Are your sites accessible? Can you make accommodations?
We have 10 different sites we use. Many are older churches or parks buildings. They range in how accessible they are to people with physical disabilities. If you have questions, contact Janelle Durham (firstname.lastname@example.org), one of our instructors, who is an amputee who uses crutches and is used to navigating accessibility issues – she can work with you to figure out which sites would be best for your family based on your needs. Many of our classes require some parent assistance in the classroom – typically these duties can be adjusted in ways that all parents are able to contribute. For more general information on accessibility in Bellevue College programs, contact the BC Disability Resource Center.
What about Summer Camp?
If you have additional questions, not answered on this FAQ or our website, you can fill out the contact form on our homepage. Or feel free to contact the instructor for the class you are interested in or the registrar for the cooperative preschool you are considering. You can find a link to their email addresses on the schedule tables at the bottom of each class page (see the “contact” column) or co-op instructors/registrars are also listed on our locations page.
Last Updated May 17, 2022