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Giddens School

620 20th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98144

(206) 324-4847


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Preschool Philosophy: Giddens School seeks to understand, nurture and educate each child by creating a community centered on a number of important principles. Developmentally Appropriate Approach Children process the world around them in different ways at each stage of their development. They learn best when they are being taught in a way that fits their current level of development and suits individual learning styles. The curriculum at Giddens follows a developmentally appropriate approach, matching methods and materials to the stage of each child. Integrated Curriculum We believe that children absorb information in many ways. They engage with the physical world, process their thoughts and feelings, and seek to understand what they experience with the people and the materials in their environment. Topics such as families, animals, weather, gardening, and folk tales create the context in which to teach science, math, reading, and writing in an integrated approach to curriculum. Anti-bias and Social Justice At Giddens, we pay special attention to anti-bias and social justice education. We create educational conditions in which children develop a confident self image and group identity, learning to interact comfortably and empathetically with people from diverse backgrounds. They develop an ability to stand up for themselves and others in the face of bias, and learn to think critically. This journey begins in preschool, and continues through the primary grades. Drawing on these anti bias benchmarks, we create environments in which social justice is highlighted. We seek to understand others, build community and take action to make the world a better place. (from school website_

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

From the Director:

Please visit our website for in-depth information about our curriculum.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

A new name! Happy Medium School has changed its name to Giddens School, now named after the school's founder Huda Giddens.

Housed in a historic brick schoolhouse in Seattle's Central District, Giddens is an independent school that offers preschool through 5th grade children a developmentally appropriate (A developmentally appropriate approach matches materials and teaching style to each child's stage of development.), academically excellent (Academic excellence is achieved through sound instruction in basic skills as well as hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences. Students are challenged to achieve in every aspect of the curriculum.), curriculum. Students are encouraged to appreciate each other and develop self-confidence. When they graduate, they are curious, socially responsive, creative young people, well-prepared for a lifetime of learning.

More than a school, Giddens is a community of students, parents, teachers, and staff, who embrace the diverse cultures, economic status, races, and family structures of its members. In fact, Giddens School is one of the most ethnically, economically, and socially diverse independent school in the Northwest. Approximately 30% - 40% of families receive tuition assistance and more than 40% of our students are children of color. This means that students learn about diversity in a truly diverse environment that provides vital, tangible opportunities to learn with and about each other.

Giddens is dedicated to the ideal that critical thinking and social responsibility form the basis of an academically excellent curriculum. Students develop a love of learning and self-expression in a stimulating environment unconstrained by ability grouping, rote instruction, and curricular conformity.

(from school website)

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Student Evaluations
Teachers at Giddens are trained to assess students’ progress without undue reliance on tests or letter grades. Parent-teacher conferences are held in the fall and spring (see calendar for dates). In addition to a narrative evaluation, teachers provide a continuum: a graphic representation of the stages of learning development in particular areas. Specific descriptors provide a framework for assessing each student’s growth. The continua support our philosophy that children think and understand in diverse ways and emphasize the skills and strategies of each student. Descriptors that exemplify learning behaviors are marked on the continua with the date the particular behavior has been consistently observed.

The descriptors, “with guidance/begins to/explores” indicate that a child is beginning to explore a new skill or strategy, but needs adult support and encouragement.

“Independently/consistently” indicate that a child exhibits the skill or strategy at least 80% of the time.

In addition to scheduled conference days, parents can make appointments with their child's teacher to discuss his or her progress at any time. Or, on a more informal basis, teachers are there every morning and afternoon, at drop-off and pick-up, for a quick chat or to touch base on an ongoing conversation.

(from school website)

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