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 3-5 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.

Interested in Polliwog Preschool?

Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year is closed, but you can still apply to be a part of our wait pool! To apply, fill out and submit the online form below or download and fill out our application. To learn more, call (425) 450-0207 or email Caroline Cook at

Monthly Tours
We offer monthly tours of Polliwog Preschool on the first Monday of each month from 1-2 p.m., October through June. 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:

  • November 7, 2016
  • December 5, 2016
  • February 6, 2017
  • March 6, 2017
  • April 3, 2017
  • May 3, 2017
  • June 5, 2017
Program Details


Children may enroll in one of the following sessions:

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 9 a.m. – noon
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 9 a.m. – noon
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 1 – 4 p.m.


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


  • Tuesday/Thursday a.m. and p.m. sessions: $2,205/year or $245/month
  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday session: $3,150/year or $350/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.

Robin has always been in love with the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised here in Seattle, her parents had her in the mountains and not in the mall on the weekends. Following her interest, she received her degree in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Her most recent endeavor took her to Mazama, WA, where she designed and delivered nature and art youth programming out of a cross-country ski lodge’s attached ecology center. Her true passion in education combines natural sciences and art. In her free time, she enjoys getting outside, swimming, biking, and smelling the flowers. Robin is extremely excited to be a part of the Mercer Slough team, teaching and learning with the youth in such a beautiful place we get to call home.

Polliwog Preschool Application

  • Please indicate the school year for which you are applying. Polliwog Preschool is not currently accepting applications for years beyond 2017-2018.

    Answers to the following questions are optional, and will not affect your child’s chances of enrolling in our program.

  • I am interested in receiving emails about other early childhood programs at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center.
Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center