Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center

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

Polliwog Preschool

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.

Enrollment

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.

Program Details

SESSION TIMES

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.

CLASS SIZE

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

TUITION

  • Tuesday/Thursday morning and afternoon sessions: $2,205/year or $245/month
  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday session: $3,130/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
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

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.

CAROLINE COOK – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR

Caroline comes to Mercer Slough from North Carolina, where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from UNC Wilmington. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an educator at several different places along the east coast, leading nature play at an outdoor afterschool, teaching fifth graders about barrier island ecology, and leading guided hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s especially excited to learn more about the wildlife and plants of the Pacific Northwest, and to spend time getting muddy in the slough. In her spare time, Caroline likes to hike, crochet, or read a good book.

Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center