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Baker Language and Learning Center

2812 S Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98144

(206) 328-2275


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Children at BLLC are encouraged to engage in active learning. Real-life activities, including cooking and gardening, language, logic, music, movement, collaboration and cooperation are the themes we incorporate into the program daily. These all correspond naturally to skills children need to build upon for later cognitive growth, and are much more appropriate to the age-levels of our programs than an academic-based program.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Beading, stackers, games, manipulatives
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • Inquiry through provocation
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • CD player, guest musicians
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • 3-D objects from recycled/found and new media
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Wagons/pull-toys, dance & movement, yoga & stretching/breathing exercises
Other subjects taught French (not immersion, but instructions, songs, words, and play in both French and English); Spanish (not immersion, but phrases, songs, stories in both Spanish and English).

From the Director:

Much of what occurs in our classroom reflects a constructivist approach to early education. A major teaching strategy is to allow for mistakes (a contributor to learning) while observing children closely to ensure that learning is occurring and frustration is monitored. We also highly value the child’s ability to negotiate in the peer group. We very much believe in a scaffolding approach to learning for people of all ages, but to promote a life-long love of learning, it is critical in the early learning years. This is why we combine a child-centered with a teacher-led approach. Through observation and documentation, we are able to understand children's learning styles (enabling us to utilize a multi-intelligences approach) and provide provocation into areas which are of particular use and interest to each child.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We currently have a seasoned Pre K-8 certified teacher and a teacher with an MSW. They have very different personalities and provide a kind of yin/yang co-teaching environment. Both speak French, and one also speaks Spanish and ASL. Through observation and scaffolding, we are able to address the individual needs of children right where they are, be that "behind," "different," or "advanced." We have implemented a parent feedback forum through a parent bulletin board in cyberspace and on our wall, and leave notes for parents to give them an idea of what their children are doing at school in order to "spark" a conversation at home, especially important for the 2s, whose language may not be well-developed enough to communicate specifics of their days with us.

We also work very closely with families who have additional concerns for their child, or when they are working with other clinicians or receiving services elsewhere. When we are all communicating together toward the best interest of the child, we have an organized care structure.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our preschool is based on a variety of methods, from Montessori to Reggio Emilia. We believe that a solid marriage of both emergent, child-centered curricula and theme-based, teacher-led activities creates an ideal environment for positive outcomes. The children are encouraged to explore and create on their own, and then are given the opportunity to create in a more defined manner. We also have high standards in developing a developmentally and culturally appropriate program, as one cannot exist without the other. We encourage families from all walks of life, socioeconomic status, and family systems to apply.

A Typical Day

Each day is designed to follow a similar schedule in order to promote confidence and expectancy in the children while respecting each child’s individual
needs. Times are approximate.

9:00 - 9:15 a.m. Children arrive. Hang coats and remove shoes.
9:00 - 9:30/9:45 a.m. Free play/learning stations.
9:30/9:45 a.m. Circle time. Greet each other, sing,
play instruments, listen and dance to music, learn rhymes and finger movements.
10:00/10:15 a.m. Art projects and learning centers.
10:30/10:45 a.m. Snack. Parents provide a well-balanced and nutritious snack. Let us know if your child has any food allergies or foods to avoid
for personal or religious reasons.
11:00 a.m. Outside play/gross motor skills, sharing, cooperation.
11:45 a.m. Storytime and goodbye song. Parents are welcome to join us during this period.
12:00 p.m. Children are picked up by their parents
or authorized caregiver.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Our approach to providing more relevant and immediate feedback to parents has evolved over time. Where a moment at the door talking with parents and caregivers worked in the past, we have added other methods. Since we are combining more Reggio philosophy into our program, we are working at observing and documenting the children's interests, play, and interactions more. We also write daily Post-Its for parents to see and add to their own child's home portfolio. In addition, we send out weekly photos of the children in the school environment, along with a monthly note on what we've been working on in school.

In addition, we use e-mail correspondence to add more in-depth and personal exchange, as well as telephone conversations when there is a concern on the part of teachers or parents. This is all in conjunction with two regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences, scheduled in November and April each year.

Overall, this year in particular, we have honed and enhanced all methods of communication so that parents have a much clearer and immediate idea of what their children are doing for the short blocks of time that they are with us and away from home.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Part of BLLC's enrollment process is to perform a home visit for each new child. This gives us an opportunity to view the child in his/her own most comfortable of environments and also gives us an opportunity to observe the child as s/he generally is in a space that is familiar. This is a two-fold process: We get to observe a child's behaviors and personality in a familiar place, and we also have a shared experience to draw on once the preschool year begins. Thus, when a child experiences some separation anxiety, we are already somewhat familiar and can draw on memories that are unique to us and the child. This has been very helpful in alleviating some of the stress of early-year anxiety.

Another method we use is a "slow start," meaning that we abbreviate the first week of school. Parents are invited to come in with their child for about half the period and in smaller group sessions, and then are invited to stay for as long a period as is comfortable for them and the child beyond the first week. We very much encourage parents to drop in and get involved with their child's classroom activities or help with other "duties" involved with the running the class each day. As children see their loved ones involved in the new place that is "theirs," their own comfort builds and they begin to build a bridge between home life and school life--it's all their life.