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Bertschi School

2227 10th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102

(206) 324-5476


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Learning begins the day a baby is born. I believe that the powerful learning of pre-kindergarten age children is key for laying the foundation and inspiring the desire for life long learning. Research indicates that early learning is a critical determinant of continued learning achievement and success for students. Children who are helped to focus their learning on skills that will support future learning gain the greatest advantages when they enter school. I also think that is it important to enable these young children to discover the joy and challenge of learning in a school that is diverse, community-centered and compassionate – the tenets upon which Bertschi is built.

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
  • Felt boards, word games, word blocks
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Manipulatives, graphs, colors, shapes, spatial games,
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Sensory awareness tools
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
  • Explorations centers
Music more

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  • Class with specialist
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Clay and other 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
Other subjects taught Spanish

From the Director:

Through play, young children experience and make sense of the world around them. In the Pre-K program children engage in playful activities structured to encourage inquiry, and creative expression. Carefully planned activities are designed to help children broaden concepts and increase skills in the areas of social awareness, creative expression, language arts, math, personal hygiene and safety. The children are guided at their developmentally appropriate level and are encouraged to become responsible individuals who care for others and their immediate environment.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Differentiated instruction is something we work very hard on at Bertschi, so that we can help every student find success in learning. It focuses on three primary things: content, process and product. For example, a teacher will first identify the content that he or she would like to impart. Then, the teacher determines the process – which may differ from student to student – that will best convey the content. It may be through a reading exercise, a listening assignment, researching on the computer, or a myriad of other strategies. Finally, there is the end product which indicates a student’s understanding of the content. The assignment should be open-ended enough for a child’s strength’s to come through and allow them to tap into the learning style and tools which best suit them.

Teachers will determine the most effective instructional methods based on their assessment of a student’s readiness for the content, the student’s interest in the subject, and each individual’s learning style. All of this occurs within the scope and sequence of our curriculum, and the benchmarks we have established at each grade level. In a nutshell, differentiated instruction allows a teacher to meet each student where they are and take them as far as they can go. It demands that teachers know their students very well, as well as have a range of teaching skills and strategies. It’s not easy, but it’s wonderfully rewarding when you see students of all abilities excited about learning.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Brigitte Bertschi, a graduate of the University of Basel, Switzerland, founded Bertschi School in 1975 as a one-room preschool. The school moved into the first building on its current site in 1976, and over time acquired adjacent buildings. Today the school occupies four buildings that accommodate a population of 200 students in grades kindergarten through five.

When Brigitte Bertschi founded the school, it was for this purpose: to give young children a challenging and inclusive education with an emphasis on the whole child and on learning in a cooperative, community-centered environment. These precepts have remained the school's strong guiding principles.

Bertschi's curriculum is crafted to give students an integrated and interdisciplinary learning experience. We believe in approaching ideas from a variety of perspectives so that children learn different dimensions of a single topic. Bertschi students are eager, curious learners able to make connections between diverse ideas to reach creative solutions, and prepared to make a difference in their world.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Good communication is important at Bertschi School. The success of our mission is directly related to a shared community understanding of what we do and why we are engaged in specific activities. We work hard to keep families informed about school events as well as the growth of their student. We also ask that parents initiate communication with teachers and/or administrators if they have questions or concerns.

Teachers communicate with parents through written and/or electronic newsletters. These letters provide information about the curriculum, class activities, major assignments, as well as planned field trips. Activities that involve special parent preparation or involvement are indicated. Resource newsletters are sent throughout the year in the Parent Update.

Each Wednesday, the School Office publishes a news flyer, the Parent Update, with announcements that are important to our school community. This will be sent via an e-mail link to those families who have provided the school with e-mail addresses. It is posted in the Commons area of the web site and available in hard copy in the School Office and Extended Day room.

All teachers and staff members have e-mail addresses. Teachers, administrators and staff members check their e-mail daily and generally respond in a timely manner.

The school’s web site includes a school calendar, pdf versions of Parent Education event handouts and other school publications, curricula, directories, class web pages, and much more. Parents are encouraged to visit the web site often to make use of its resources.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • 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:

  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year