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Beginnings Capitol Hill

1821 15th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 707-5212


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Beginnings is on the corner of 15th and Denny

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Co-op

From the Director:

Our goal is to create a safe, responsive, child-oriented environment. We believe in treating children with dignity and respect. Children's play is their work, and our role is to facilitate their play. Our program is based on developmentally-appropriate expectations. We make available a diverse and flexible range of activities, including dramatic play, art projects, sensory tables, nature study, music, cooking and language games, as well as safety lessons, exercise and science. Our curriculum and environment are also planned so that conflict can be minimized. We try to minimize activities that require taking turns. Teachers do not grade or otherwise competitively evaluate the things that children make or do. Praise is given equally and abundantly. The aim is confidence for all, in an atmosphere that mixes guidance, caring, and challenge. We want to help children feel confident in their growing independence, to become aware of and excited by their own development. In the toddler and preschool rooms, daily activities are planned for the week according to a theme. In addition, children go outside on a daily basis, weather permitting.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • 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
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
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
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
  • Tricycles
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

Our main focus is on having children emotionally and socially prepared for the challenges and excitement that Kindergarten and grade school has to offer. We work with our preschoolers so they can problem solve on their own and ask for help when needed. We strive towards helping our preschoolers become confident young children.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We work as a team to meet every child's needs. We use a positive discipline approach to resolving conflict with children and between children. We focus on the positive and on what the children can do and not on what they can not do. Our goal is to have our preschoolers leave Beginnings with a strong sense of self (socially and emotionally) where they can manage challenging situations on their own.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

We at Beginnings believe strongly in the need to foster individual growth and self-esteem for every child. We openly welcome children of all backgrounds, of all national, ethnic, religious, and physical identities. It is our belief that a good School is both a cooperative community and a home, in idea and in reality. It is a place where children feel cared for and secure, and where parents can feel relaxed, supported and involved. It is a place where individual respect and dignity are assured.

The particular needs of each child and each family are a priority. We strive to maintain an atmosphere of emotional trust and respect of open communication at many levels, and at the same time, a physical environment in which cognitive, physical and social development are all richly interwoven. This is made possible by a staff of teachers that comprise our greatest asset.

We are committed to the idea of parental involvement and have made available a range of possibilities for such involvement. Parents are encouraged to voice their ideas and concerns, and to participate directly in the life and health of the School. Beginnings is a cooperative School; therefore, parental involvement is strongly encouraged.

A Typical Day

Schedules for each age group are routine, but flexible. A sample day for toddlers and preschoolers might consist of the following:

-7:00 - 9:00 a.m.: Arrival; breakfast; free-choice activities; open mixing of age groups

-9:00 - 9:30 a.m.: Divide into age groups; circle time activities

-9:30 - 10:30 a.m.: Snack; special project; center choices

-10:30 - Noon: Outside time for toddlers; preschoolers may go outside or continue self-interest activity

-Noon - 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

-1:00 - 2:45 p.m.: Nap/quiet time; free choice activities made available for quiet non-nappers and those who wake early

-3:00 - 3:45 p.m.: Circle; Snack; free choice and special/self-interest activities

-3:45 - 5:00 p.m.: Outside time for all

-5:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Return inside; self-interest activities for preschoolers; free-choice for toddlers

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We send out a weekly curriculum for parents to review with their child and encourage them to help their child with homework :).
We also put out a monthly newsletter to keep our families up to date on any changes in the room and other happenings that are going on.
We also have two parent-teacher conferences a year and more as needed.
Teacher are also comfortable setting up phone-conferences on a as needed basis and notes when parents desire those forms of communication.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • 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:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

When a child starts in our classroom we work towards creating a safe and trusting environment for the child and family. We encourage parents to set up a transition schedule (short visits with parents before they officially start). We also encourage the parent to plan short days for the child during their first week at school. We also make sure to keep the lines of communication open during a child's first few weeks (via emails or phone calls).