Mercer Slough Environmental Education CenterA partnership with the City of Bellevue, offering nature-based programs for all ages.
Polliwog Preschool, at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue, is a play-based and multi-aged school year program for children 3-5 years old. 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.
To be added to the wait pool for the 2015-2016 school year, submit an application.
Please note: Your child must be at least 3 years old and toilet-trained by the first day of school to enroll.
Children may enroll in one of the following sessions:
- Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Tuesday/Thursday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Tuesday/Thursday: 1 – 4 p.m.
Maximum class size for is 12 students, with two educators in each class.
- Tuesday/Thursday morning and afternoon 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.
GENERAL DAILY SCHEDULE
- 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.-12 p.m. — Closing Circle: Reflections, songs, stories
- 12 p.m. — Pick-up
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
AMANDA MINTZ – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION COORDINATOR
Amanda joins Mercer Slough full-time after teaching 2nd grade for 2 years in the Bellevue School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington. Amanda has a broad array of experience with Pacific Science Center educational programming, including teaching with Science On Wheels, summer camps, and many years as the Weekend Programs Instructor here at Mercer Slough. She has also more than a decade of experience teaching toddlers and preschoolers. Amanda is thrilled to be combining her passions for the outdoors and teaching young children as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator at Mercer Slough.
TORY KASSABAUM – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR
In 2012, after graduating from Knox College with a degree in Environmental Studies, Tory moved from the Midwestern prairies to the mountainous Pacific Northwest. Not only was she excited to live somewhere with mountains and the ocean, but also to pursue a certificate in Environment, Education and Community from Islandwood and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from UW. After immediately falling in love with Washington’s natural landscape, she knew she wanted to stay and share her love of this outside world with her students. Tory has spent many happy hours working with children during summers at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, MO. and during her 10 month residency at IslandWood. In her free time Tory enjoys hiking, swimming, rock climbing and cooking.