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The Secret Garden Preschool

314 27th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98112

(206) 402-4703


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Your child is in the most formative years of his or her life. Our mission is to provide your child with the environment to grow to his or her potential. We emphasize curiosity and exploration through a curriculum-based program that provides the base for academic achievement. We also beleive the development of social skills are critical to future succes so put an emphasis on teaching cooperation and respect. We do all of this in a fun-filled way that keeps our students engaged and excited.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

Our overall approach to learning is that it should be explorative and creative. Learning requires a lot of different experiences and also repetition. Learning is a process and a journey. Learning at The Secret Garden happens by nurturing compassionate individuals who have respect for their peers, teachers and physical environment.

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
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
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
Other subjects taught We have a fantastic Music and Dance program that we offer to the children on a weekly basis. Our music instructor has been with our school for many years and each class covers a different music concept (tempo, directions, body parts, etc.). Not only does this provide great large motor skill development but it also teaches cooperation and good listening skills. Our music instructor follows the Kodaly Method of Music Education. This method focuses on melody, rhythm, pitch and more. Classes utilize felt puppets, stories, songs, homemade instruments and more. There is a large emphasis on traditional folk songs, musical games, and international music. The children learn songs in French, Spanish, Dutch and German on a regular basis. The older children perform music concerts to put their talent on display at least twice a year.

From the Director:

We ground our students in the world around us and lay the foundation for future stewards of our world. We include an environmental unit and a clean water unit. Our students have learned, interacted with, and supported such organizations Water First International, Childhaven, Write Around the World, and Heritage House Senior Center.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our teachers are devoted to their students individually and as a class. We do not interview or screen children to enroll in our school. We truly believe that diversity benefits all children, and all children deserve a chance to achieve their potential. We tailor our instruction so every child grows and has a positive experience.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The preschool years are a time of great discovery and exploration for young children. Children are discovering their feelings, learning important life-long social skills, and expanding their intellectual horizons by leaps and bounds. The Secret Garden Preschool provides a safe and supportive environment where children can develop in all of those ways.

One of the most challenging areas of growth for young children is their emotional and social development. During the preschool years, there is plenty to learn about being a good friend to all. One of the primary goals of our program is to help children learn the skills of sharing, problem solving, expressing feelings, and working cooperatively. Our school helps children grow emotionally and socially by providing positive guidance and role modeling. Our goal is to teach compassion, kindness and respect for all.

The Secret Garden Preschool also regards community spirit as an important goal of the school program. Helping one another as well as other people in our community is an integral part of our teaching curriculum and philosophy. We work hard to build a community of friends who are here to learn and grow together. We make community service a part of our all school activities (food banks, luncheons, senior center visits, etc.) so that even at an early age, children can understand the value of giving to and helping others.

We believe that in order to build a strong sense of community, we need to begin with the understanding of each child as an individual. The more children learn about themselves, the more confident they will be interacting and contributing to a group. The main way that we promote confidence and positive self-esteem is to insure that every child has the chance to express him/herself in this community. Our school's low student to teacher ratios allow us to give each child the individual attention that they need on a daily basis. By doing so, we can gear each class to individual interests, abilities and learning styles.

The school is committed to a hands-on approach to learning. Children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations with all of our projects, toys and equipment. The curriculum is diverse and rich in content (art, science, music, dance, literature, cooking, math, and more) to foster social interactions, independent play, exploration and creativity. One other key element of our program involves giving children ample time to engage in child-directed play. Play is an important part of a young child's emotional, social and intellectual growth and we are here to nurture that and to take part in it whenever we can.

We have a diverse program that is rich in content, interactive, creative and fun. At The Secret Garden Preschool, we learn through dancing, singing, painting, drawing, telling stories, playing, exploring and just by being together as a community of friends and life-long learners.

A Typical Day

Our classes are structured so that children have a variety of learning situations that provide both group and independent activities during the day. Each class consists of the following activities: free play/choice time, circle time, art activities, clean-up, snack time, outdoor play, and a goodbye circle. Each teaching team works out a schedule based on what works best for their age group.

We have a set curriculum that we follow throughout the year. The Threes Classes generally have bi-weekly themes while the Fours and Pre-K Classes have monthly units of study (e.g. ocean life, dinosaurs, human body, space, etc.). Because so many of our children stay with us for 3 to 4 years, we vary the topics each year to provide new and exciting learning experiences for our students.

Socialization and exploration is the main emphasis in the Threes classes, however, basic concepts such as letter and number recognition, colors, shapes, patterns, etc. are also important parts of our curriculum. In the Fours and Pre-K classes, we continue to work on the aforementioned basic concepts in both small groups or on an individual basis. We challenge the children to start forming their own ideas and using their knowledge about the world to shape their play and creative efforts. We have a great field trip program in the Pre-K year and usually take at least one field trip a month into our community. All of these activities are designed to help prepare a child for kindergarten.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

On a weekly basis, all teachers write and distribute a newsletter reviewing the previous week's events, listing important upcoming events and giving words to songs, etc. We also try to discuss any daily events that need to be noted at pick-up time. Our teachers are all e-mail accessible and try to return phone calls and e-mails from parents on a daily basis.

We have one formal parent-teacher conference at the mid-point of the school year and are always available for additional conferences, as needed. The annual conferences are 30-minute meetings which are accompanied by a written summary of each child's emotional/social, physical and cognitive growth. In addition, special conferences are set up for kindergarten information if needed.

A Back to School Open House is held each year to greet new families and welcome back returning families. Pre-K Classes also have a Curriculum Meeting at the beginning of the year to specifically address the goals of kindergarten readiness, curriculum topics, field trips, community service projects and parent-led activities.

Learning objectives and goals for each class are listed on our website and also in our handbook. Each family receives a handbook at the beginning of the year that includes a school calendar, all school policies, volunteer suggestions, our philosophy and more.

Our school runs several All School Events to bring the entire community together throughout the school year. In October, we visit a pumpkin patch, in December we have a Winter Festival, in March we take part in a fundraiser for Childhaven called the Shamrock Lunch, and at the end of the year, we have a special graduation gathering for each class with a concert or other show. We also have an end of the year ice cream social or picnic.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

All students attend an open house with their parents before the first day of school to meet their teachers and become familiar with the classrooms and play yard. We also discuss separation anxiety with parents at the Open House and at a New Parent Orientation Meeting. We discuss ways to separate and also welcome parents to come before school starts and set up a plan with us that they feel will work for them.