Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center

A partnership with the City of Bellevue, offering nature-based programs for all ages.


Polliwog Preschool

Polliwog Preschool is a play-based and multi-aged school year program for children 3-6* years old at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. At Polliwog Preschool, nature is used as the ideal catalyst for discovery and stimulation. Seasonal themes and daily activities are designed to meet the developmental needs of early learners, while encouraging curiosity and fostering a love of nature and learning. To learn more about Polliwog Preschool, download the Polliwog Preschool Parent Handbook or call (425) 450-0207.

*Children must be at least age 3 and no older than age 5 by August 31 of the upcoming school year to enroll.

New This Year: Afternoon “Frogs” Session!

  • Meets four days per week, Mondays – Thursdays
  • For children ages 4-6
  • See “Program Details” below to learn more
Visit Polliwog Preschool

Monthly Tours
We offer monthly tours of Polliwog Preschool on the first Thursday of each month from 2-3 p.m., October through May. These tours will give you the opportunity to see our classroom, explore our grounds and ask the teachers questions. Please RSVP to Caroline Cook at if you plan to attend; drop-ins are welcome as well.

Upcoming Polliwog Preschool Tours:

  • October 4
  • November 1
  • December 6
  • January 10
  • Saturday, January 26 (open house, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.)
  • February 7
  • March 7
  • April 4
  • May 2
Program Details


Children may enroll in one of the following sessions:

3-day morning

  • Meets Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 9 a.m. – noon
  • For children who are ages 3 or 4 on August 31, 2018

2-day morning

  • Meets Tuesday/Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon
  • For children who are ages 3 or 4 on August 31, 2018

NEW! 4-day afternoon

  • Meets Monday – Thursday, 1-4 p.m.
  • For children who are ages 4 or 5 by August 31, 2018


Maximum class size is 12 students, with two teachers in each class.


  • 3-day morning: $3,500 per year or $389 per month
  • 2-day morning: $2,475 per year or $275 per month
  • 4-day afternoon: $4,770 per year or $530 per month

Full tuition payment is encouraged prior to the first day of preschool. Families may also pay tuition in nine monthly installments via credit card or check. A non-refundable deposit in the amount of one month’s tuition is due when registering your child. The deposit will cover your May/June tuition.


  • 9-9:15 a.m. — Transition: Greet teachers and classmates, free play
  • 9:15-9:30 a.m. — Morning Circle: Introduce the day’s theme, weather, calendar, sharing time
  • 9:30-11 a.m. — Outdoor exploration, play on the trails (weather permitting), themed activities and nature study, then a snack
  • 11-11:45 a.m. — Indoor extension activities: sensory, art, math and literacy stations
  • 11:45 a.m.- noon — Closing Circle: Reflections, songs, stories
  • Noon — Pick-up
Learning Philosophy

Polliwog Preschool is play-based and student-driven with a combination of activity choices, discovery explorations and specific activities that relate to the current theme. Activities are designed to address each child’s developmental needs while encouraging curiosity, fostering love of the natural world, and developing the whole child. Polliwog Preschool uses nature as the guiding theme to frame our core curriculum areas of science, art, music, math, language and literacy.

For example, when studying insects, children act out the life cycle of a dragonfly and fly through the forest for creative movement. Investigative, quantitative and analytical skills are developed as we compare, count and study terrestrial and aquatic insects. Teachers model careful treatment of nature and the creatures we examine are released back into their natural habitat. When out of the woods and back in the classroom, we extend our learning and creativity in various ways, such as painting an insect at the art station or creating an insect story as a language art activity.

Meet The Polliwog Preschool Educators

Caroline loves jumping in mud puddles, holding millipedes, and sharing her love of nature with early learners. She came to Mercer Slough from North Carolina, where she worked at an outdoor after-school program, taught elementary students about barrier island ecology, and led guided hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from UNC Wilmington, and has worked at camps and environmental education centers for over 10 years.

Erica is excited for her fourth year at Mercer Slough, and second as an educator in Polliwog Preschool. After earning a BA in Environmental Studies at McGill University, she moved to Seattle and made a career of messy jobs in education, teaching a toddler art program at Seattle ReCreative and marine science lessons for Pacific Marine Research. She is excited to see our preschoolers learn and grow throughout the year- working at the wetland park is always a muddy, fun-filled adventure!

If you don’t hear from a Polliwog teacher within 2-3 days, please resubmit your application or contact Caroline Cook at



Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center