Preschool advice please!

Home Forums West Seattle Schools Preschool advice please!

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    We are moving to West Seattle and want to put our son on a list to start preschool when he is 3 years old. We really like the look of Westside School for when he is a bit older but are not sure whether to start him at preschool there, or put him somewhere more focused on child-led play first. Does anyone have experience of Westside preschool? We have heard that they are splitting PS and PK next year. Any idea how that’s going to work out for the 3 year olds?


    Leah P

    I haven’t been to check out the Westside school yet, but I do know the owners of EuropaKids ( – which is an awesome place if you are wanting a bilingual experience. I’ve enrolled my own son into the co-op preschool starting this fall, and have heard great things about it from parents all over WS –

    Good luck!



    When we first moved to West Seattle in 2009, my then 2 and 1/2 year old daughter attended the Fauntleroy Children’s Center ( 4 days a week, and EuropaKids 1 day a week.


    When she was 3 we moved her over to EuropaKids full time (5 days a week). BOTH preschools have part time schedules available also. EK runs a 1/2 day program in Spanish and in German at the Southwest Community Center, as well as their 2 full time locations here in West Seattle (one is Spanish only, the other is Spanish/German).


    I can highly recommend BOTH schools as wonderful! Fauntleroy is definitely more play based, while EK is playbased with the added language immersion component. Several of my friends kids have long attended the Community School for preschool and into K-2, and absolutely love it there. I have a couple other friends who have their children at The Westside School for preschool, and friends who have their kids in the K-5 (now K-8) as well. They love Westside, so I think you’ll be fine there as well.


    There are a lot of other wonderful preschools in West Seattle… which I’m sure a lot of forum members will soon tell you. I recommend you tour ALL of the ones that interest you, to see which one will be the best fit for your child. Welcome to WS and good luck!


    Swamp Thing

    I think you are really smart to consider what a preschooler needs at 3 and then at 4/5. Many schools have mixed-age classes, and they will tell you that the younger children learn from the older ones and the older ones learn empathy. That is undoubtably true. But as a parent of a now-kindergartener I wish my child had attended a more focused pre-K program as opposed to a mixed-age program.

    My child went to Community School. While they have some really good teachers and we were happy while there, my son had a very difficult transition to kindergarten and I regret not moving him elsewhere for his last year. It was a great program for him at 3, but at 4/5 I think he could have benefited from more structure to prepare him for a public school classroom.

    So my advice is to consider which school is the best fit for your child now, and then think about whether the same will be true for that second year (or if moving him to a different school is an acceptable option for you). I would favor schools with a 3 program and a 4 program, like Westside, A Child Becomes, Bloom, the Y and I’m sure several others.




    Welcome to the neighborhood! There are some great choices for preschool in West Seattle. We opted for a non-religious one… and wanted to ability to stay with the school long term if it ended up being a good fit. In that case, there are two choices: Westside and West Seattle Montessori. We have two girls in their second year at West Seattle Montessori and have just re-upped for their kindergarten year. Class size is nice and small; 20 kids with two full time teachers. Tons of learning going on; especially reading and writing. Lots of interesting extras, like Fare Start hot lunch program, onsite Greenhouse,loads of fieldtrips, Spanish, Sign Language, Music, … They were just in the preprimary play The Three Little Pigs which was adorable and hilarious. I have heard wonderful things about Westside School as well. They are the only two private, prek-8, non-religious options in West Seattle and both are great choices. The tuition for full day (9-3) at West Seattle Montessori is around $7500 I believe, and there is a sibling discount program. I hope that helps!!!



    My daughter (4-1/2) goes to Small Scholars at the High Point Community Center. Miss Roxanne and Miss Kellie are AWESOME. There is plenty of actual learning and lots of good play time. They go on field trips. I believe the age range is 3-5. The parent teacher relationship Roxanne has established is awesome. It’s a new program and expanded quickly! I think there’s a waiting list now PLUS they added a 3rd TA. They’re awesome!



    It’s preschool people. Play time IS ‘actual’ learning. It’s all about being out in the world without mommy holding your hand. A capable kid is highly desirable in Kindergarten-you can ask any teacher!



    My kids went to A Child Becomes. Obviously we liked it since we ended up sending all 3 of them there. The staff is very nice and really great with the kids. My kids just loved them all. And the classroom is cool and engaging. The transition to kindergarten after that was smooth and they were right up to speed.



    I think it’s interesting that people insinuate that the transition IN to Kindergarten is somehow the preschools responsibility when in fact the preschool has nothing to do with anything related to the actual Kindergarten you send your child to. The preschool teachers don’t go on the first day, they don’t set up the room or train the teacher. Is it not the Kindergarten your child goes in to that determines how it goes?

    There are plenty of kids from every preschool who have easy and hard transitions. Lets not forget that parents are the most powerful force in a child’s life and personnality has a lot to say!


    I don’t know if you are specifically leaning away from religious based schools, but we chose the preschool at Holy Rosary for our daughter. It was a new program this year, and we have been more than happy with the choice.



    Remember the Co-op Preschools! They tend to be less expensive, you get a chance to know who your child’s friends are and YOU make friends with other parents who tend to have similar parenting values because you get to learn up to date parenting/child guidance and development info in the program, too.

    They have classes from infants thru pre k. Google co-op preschools west seattle and see what you find.



    Just heard that Westside School has space in their preschool program for 3 year olds for this coming September.



    But won’t they be stuck in the portables? I remember portables from even in my day and they were definitely sub-par clasrooms. With the high tuition, I would expect preschoolers to be part of the actual school. Do you know more about the portable situation?



    Cometa Playschool is the best! There is a long waitlist for the 2011-2012 school year at the West Seattle location but still plenty of room at the new Wallingford and Montlake schools.



    According to the diagram that has been on display in the Westside School lobby the new south campus will not just be portables on pavement. The exterior of the buildings will have extensive decking and landscaping. The Preschool and Prekindergarten classrooms will have their own age appropriate outdoor play area as well.


    We are considering moving our pre-K son from Mermaid’s Lagoon (Bright Horizons) to All About Kids. Any sage advice out there! Thank you in advance for any help.



    Glad to see a forum with so much information on preschool. My daughter is turning 2 years old soon and it won’t be long before I’ll be sending her off to preschool as well.



    My wife and I are adopting a boy who will be nearly four years old next April when he’ll need to transition to preschool/pre-K. We’ve been stymied by full schools/long waiting lists or tuition that is just too much for us to afford ongoing. We also are trying to find something closer to where we live (north of the Alaska Junction).

    If anyone has some fresh leads (this thread is great but a year old), we’d be interested. We prefer non-religious if possible. Thanks in advance!



    We went through a LOT of preschool iterations as our kid went from 1.5 (co-op) to Kindergarden. So much has to do with what your kid needs and how they thrive. We ultimately ended up in a small group in-home preschool, Cedar House, with a small number of kids, for three four-hour days. It was a great set up for K since the balance of play to structure with added ‘life skills’ helped with moving to longer/more days.

    In addition to LOTS of outdoor play, there were monthly themes for art/reading/experiments/adventure. Katie really helped the kids with simple things like how to pack and unpack their backpacks; set out, eat and repack their lunches; do group projects and to work independently. They really had a teacher invested in their individuality AND in their ability to play/function in the world. It wasn’t just daycare.

    I know from friends that Europa Kids rocks, and that (some say) Westside is both great and has a competitive feel. Bloom in the Admiral District is warm and friendly, and they do Parent’s Night Out so you can have an occasional Friday Eve away while your kid is in a safe and familiar place. Co-op has benefits and is like re-inventing the wheel every year, or so it felt to us.

    Who is your kid, and what does s/he need and love?



    Good question. Maybe we’ll know when we meet him. :) Finding something that’s all day is a challenge, especially when money is an issue. Our biggest challenge right now is to get on some lists at the kinds of places that have lists, and then see how things work out.



    I cannot say enough amazing things about the co-op preschools. You get so much information, support, and the teachers are amazing.

    Different than other preschools since you are there 1 day a week – but I think that makes your job better!



    Best of luck MightyMo! If you’re in the area, drop in and chat with Don at Alki Mail & Dispatch. He went/is going through some of the same searches and experiences, just a year or so ahead of you and with three kids. He might have some GREAT insight into transitioning in and finding a good match in care and costs.



    Putting in a plug for West Seattle Christian Preschool. I sent my oldest here and it was a great educational and social foundation for him. The teachers are first rate!



    Another rave for West Seattle Christian. Downright affordable in my opinion and the teachers are so loving, patient and kind.

    Our son went from barely able to correctly label numbers and letters to being able to spell his name, knowing his numbers and able to read a few sight words. Truly wonderful.

    Good luck in your search !!

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