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Harvard Avenue School Madison Valley

1608/1612 Martin Luther King Drive E
Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 329-5187


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Teacher-Led

From the Director:

The children have at least 45 minutes a day of in-class free choice time and free play at recess, but the teachers do prepare circle time lessons and art and academic projects for the children to participate in daily. It is difficult to check a box to indicate our general approach to learning because none of the options really seemed to apply to us; we view ourselves as a different type of preschool!

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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

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  • Puzzles
  • Counting, 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
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
  • 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
  • Great outdoor covered deck for rainy day recess
Other subjects taught Spanish instruction is provided to each class for about 15 to 30 minutes twice a week. During class, children learn vocabulary words relating to fruits, vegetables, animals, colors, and numbers. The children also practice speaking and conversation while playing games, singing songs, and doing artistic activities.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Harvard Avenue School staff teaches each child at his/her individual level. We do not have children who we consider to be "behind" because there is not a common standard for the students, rather we teach to each child�s abilities and strengths and ask that each student tries their best. If a child says, "I can't do it" we simply reply, "Just do your best." If a child needs an extra challenge in the classroom because he/she is excelling we will introduce special projects for him/her to do.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Harvard Avenue School curriculum is designed to enhance the whole child and recognize that each child has a unique process of development. We creates lessons appropriate to the unique development of each child to help fulfill their individual potential. Harvard Avenue School believes that each child has a gift in their love of learning and their absorbent mind. Our school works to develop each child�s confidence, coordination, concentration, and independence.

Harvard Avenue Schools strives to nurture the growth of the children by providing a safe, stimulating and accepting environment that will allow him/her to:
- Develop individually through play that encourages learning.
- Develop socially through activities that encourage participation, cooperation and leadership.
- Develop cognitively in a prepared environment using a variety of materials. Examples of this include:
- Practical life activities including cooking, stringing beads, transferring various materials such as water and sand, and other activities designed to increase fine motor skills.
- Lessons in fine motor development, geography, mathematics, science, pre-reading skills, French, music, dance, and art.
- Develop appreciation and awareness of art.
- Develop a sense of community that nurtures respect, understanding, and acceptance of all people.

A Typical Day

Sample Daily Schedule
Classes and activities may vary due to special projects or weather
School opens; drop-off begins.
Children have free time in the classrooms
Morning circle time; group lesson is given; Spanish/music/creative movement lesson at least once a week
Morning snack
Outdoor play
Activity period (children work alone, with a partner, in groups, or with a teacher).
Afternoon story circle, enrichment activities/outdoor play as we wait for parents to arrive
Afternoon dismissal;
After-school program begins on select days

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents are encouraged to come and observe their child in the classroom, and we communicate regularly with parents through conversation, newsletters, e-mails, and phone calls. Parents are welcome to schedule a time to come be a "guest teacher" and share information about their hobbies, profession, family traditions, etc. Parents also chaperone field trips.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

Separation anxiety is handled differently for each child. We work with the parent to discuss which process will be most successful for their child. We have practiced a variety of methods to help children separate from their parents with as little trauma as possible, and find that most often assigning a staff member to shadow the new student for their first few days works best to help the child feel most comfortable.