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Central Branch Preschool

3605 S Mount Baker Blvd
Seattle, WA 98144

(206) 723-1187

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Central Branch Preschool provides a program that encourages children to explore, discover and develop under the guidance of experienced, caring teachers. Small groups of children give the staff time and energy to form close relationships with each child, to nurture love and trust, to share feelings and problems in what may be a first group experience outside of the home. In this setting, children develop social skills and gain confidence in themselves and their relation to the outside world.

Emphasis is on the whole child: physical, emotional, intellectual and linguistic. Young children learn by doing, by actively working with things in their environment, using all their senses. Development of language is crucial at preschool age, both as a vehicle for self-expression and communication, and as the foundation for later work in the language arts.

Creativity is experienced through painting, drawing, building, music, movement, dramatic play and storytelling. Their initiative and self-motivation is encouraged by much individual choice of activities. In cooperative play, they teach and learn from each other. Those who show readiness for work at the symbolic level are given direction in reading, writing and computation, but academics alone are not stressed. At Central Branch we embrace the diversity of the school families and the community and this value is reflected in books, pictures and other curriculum materials.

A Typical Day

Classes meet in their own rooms, with access to shared indoor and outdoor spaces for active play. Children visit between groups occasionally and classes often join each other for outdoor activities. The program includes large and small muscle activities, and a balance of quiet and noisy play, indoor and outdoor pursuits, individualized free play as well as small group interaction.

Central Branch believes that play is serious business for children. It is their way of rehearsing the connections that will make life meaningful: links between feelings and language, between themselves and others who may look or act quite different. The teachers’ training and experience in early childhood education provides them with a thorough understanding of child development in an unselfconscious environment of freedom and respect between adults and children.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Because schools work best when parents are keenly interested and involved in their child’s progress, teachers talk informally with parents throughout the year, as well as at two scheduled conferences. A meeting of all parents and Board members is held early in the fall. Parents are encouraged to observe and take part in classroom projects, assist field trips and join the school Board. It is expected that each family will support fundraising projects and events, whether or not it receives tuition assistance.

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:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year