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Ned Behnke Speech Language Preschool

1625 19th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 388-1300


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Behnke Preschool is a unique preschool with an emphasis on language and literacy. Our curriculum is progressive, developmental and multi-sensory with individualization. We take a theme-based approach to learning and integrate early math, science, social studies, language, music, art, and social skills into fun and interactive activities. Our language-rich environment benefits all children, including those with speech-language delays.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Behnke Preschool puts a strong emphasis on language and literacy development throughout the preschool day. Based on the best research evidence by the International Reading Association, access to appropriate, high-quality early language and literacy experiences will enhance young children’s development. The preschool curriculum, therefore, should emphasize a wide range of language and literacy experiences including, but not limited to, story reading, dramatic play, storytelling, and retelling. Behnke Preschool students participate in Mouth Time and Sound Spot daily as part of the curriculum. During Mouth Time, students engage in fun and interactive activities that focus on auditory memory (repeating multi-syllabic words and non-words), phoneme awareness (rhyming, blending, elision, same initial sound, same final sound), phoneme production (labeling articulators and using them purposefully to make sounds), and sound-symbol correspondence. At Sound Spot, we combine the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum for developing fine motor skills with Behnke Preschool’s unique focus on phonological awareness. During this time, the skills learned during Mouth Time are built upon to begin to learn grapheme (letters) – phoneme (speech sounds) correspondence. While learning about letters and the sounds they make, preschoolers also begin to make the letters first with play dough, then tracing (in rice, shaving cream, or on paper), and finally independently.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught Behnke Preschool uses a thematic curriculum, with each theme lasting between three and five weeks. By selecting topics of high interest to our students, the opportunities for active involvement in the process of learning are increased. Organizing curriculum around a theme allows for curriculum content and learning processes to be addressed within a meaningful context. Today's early childhood specialists stress the importance of presenting curriculum in an integrated format, rather than spending short periods of time focusing on separate subject or content areas. Researchers have identified the organization of the curriculum around thematic units, as an indicator of quality early childhood programs. Our theme approach includes activities in early math, science, social studies, language, music, art, and social skills. Behnke Preschool also follows Creative Curriculum’s suggestions for best practice in a preschool classroom.

From the Director:

Behnke Preschool is the first preschool in the region to use Cued Speech, a method that utilizes a series of visual cues to help children learn oral language. It takes advantage of children’s natural attention to visual stimuli to help them differentiate between the sounds of spoken language. Cued Speech uses eight handshapes in four different placements near the face in combination with the mouth movements of speech to make the sounds of spoken language look different from each other.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Behnke Preschool accepts a maximum of 10 students per class. The teachers Deanna and Krystle specialize in speech-language development. Deanna is a master's level Speech-Language Pathologist and provides therapy to students during the preschool day when appropriate.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Weekly “Behnke Bulletin” newsletter outlining targeted skills, vocabulary, and activities

A quarterly individualized progress report outlining strengths and weaknesses in the areas of social-emotional development, cognitive development, physical development, and speech, language, and literacy

One-on-one parent teacher conferences

Open communication through email and phone

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Fundraise
  • Go on field trips
  • 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
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions