about our Preschool and Admissions  

Frequently asked questions

What is your teacher-child ratio?

We have a 1:4 teacher-child ratio with small homerooms. All of our teachers have at least their Bachelor’s degrees and have achieved the highest Educational Mastery level (Level 4) for early childhood teachers under the Department of Early Learning standards.

How old do children need to be to attend Bellevue Discovery?

Children must be between 30 months and five years old by August 31.

Younger Children

The Department of Children, Youth and Family (DCYF) does not allow preschools to supervise children under 30 months of age. (The rules are different for child care centers.)

Does my child need to be potty trained?

Children need to be reasonably self-sufficient using the bathroom before beginning preschool at Bellevue Discovery. (Accidents still happen.) Some children wear pull-ups at the beginning of the school year “just in case.” Our teachers give frequent bathroom reminders at the start of the school year. If a child has a wet accident our teachers will talk them through the process of changing their own clothes. If a child has a messy accident we call the parents to come do the clean up - Bellevue Discovery does not provide toilet training.

Older Children

DCYF does not allow preschools to enroll children who will turn six before the end of the school year.

We do not have an official kindergarten class but Bellevue Discovery has served kindergarten-age children with summer birthdays. Some of these children moved on to kindergarten the following year, and some moved on to public and independent school first grade classrooms. We are able to document a kindergarten-level curriculum for our older children but we cannot guarantee that a school will accept a Bellevue Discovery preschooler directly into first grade.

What is the tuition at Bellevue Discovery?

Bellevue Discovery has an annual tuition for our September-through-June school year which is set by our non-profit’s Board of Trustees. For the 2021-2022 school year, the Trustees set tuition with a less than two percent increase from the previous year.

2021-2022 Grasshoppers Class (Monday-Friday): $19,400

2021-2022 Dragonflies Class (Monday-Friday): $19,400

Most parents choose to divide the annual tuition into 10 payments. There are no additional fees for enrollment, supplies or field trips.

Our tuition rate supports the 1:4 teacher-child ratio and our teachers’ after school Child Study time, but it does not cover the entire cost of preschool. To make up the rest of our budget, our current and alumni families, staff, and community supporters donate to our annual “Show Your Love for Bellevue Discovery” giving campaign. During the past seven years our families and community supporters have donated more than $300,000 to help build our program.

How we set our tuition rate:

Bellevue Discovery is a non-profit organization with a commitment to creating and sustaining a model program in early childhood inquiry-based gifted education. Each winter our all-volunteer Board of Trustees examines our budget to set priorities and to determine the next year’s tuition rate. Our first priority is maintaining program quality.

The vast majority of our tuition goes toward our teachers’ salaries. We have a 1:4 teacher-child ratio and all of our teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree. We pay our outstanding teaching staff at the 90th percentile for lead preschool teachers in the Puget Sound area.

Teacher-Child Ratios at local pre-Kindergarten programs (as listed on each school’s website)

  • 1:4 at Bellevue Discovery Preschool
  • 1:7 at The Bertschi School
  • 1:7 at The Evergreen School
  • 1:7 at St. Thomas Academy
  • 1:8 at University Child Development School
  • 1:9 at Bellevue Montessori
  • 1:9 at Cedar Crest Academy
  • 1:10 at Bellevue Children’s Academy
  • 1:10 at The Little School

What does “gifted” mean?

The word gifted is shorthand for “needing an advanced learning experience that is outside the norm and typically is not offered in a regular classroom.” Highly capable children are not better than other children – they just learn differently. Their learning is quantitatively different – they learn more quickly and with fewer repetitions. Their learning is also qualitatively different – they “leapfrog” through their learning instead of needing to take each subskill step by step.

Gifted children are not gifted in every area. It’s not just that their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development can be asynchronous. It’s that even within the cognitive realm they can have areas of challenge and areas of enormous advancement. No two children are the same, and no two gifted children have the same set of strengths and challenges. What these children have in common is a “rage to learn.”

Does Bellevue Discovery Preschool require I.Q. testing?

We do not require I.Q. testing at Bellevue Discovery. The National Association for Gifted Children states that testing is not reliable or advisable for preschoolers.

Preschoolers are admitted to Bellevue Discovery based on their parents’ observations as related in a parent questionnaire, as well as our teachers’ observations and informal assessment activities during a Child Visit. Although almost 90 percent of our preschoolers later qualify for gifted programs, an offer of enrollment at Bellevue Discovery is not intended to formally identify giftedness.

Does Bellevue Discovery have a volunteer requirement?

There is no volunteer requirement at Bellevue Discovery. Parents (and grandparents and nannies with parent approval) are welcome to volunteer in the classroom under the guidance of our Early Childhood Education Director. Some parents enjoy a weekly time slot and others like to volunteer for special events.

Our Class Parents and a Community Team members help the Early Childhood Education Director plan class parties, family cultural events, and other classroom celebrations.

Parents serve on our Board of Trustees, the Parent Education Committee, the IT Task Force (whom teachers call when we need tech support!), and in other roles that support our mission and programs..

Is Bellevue Discovery a secular preschool?

Yes, we are a secular preschool. We love celebrating our preschool families' diversity of cultures, and sometimes our children hear about a religious practice as part of a cultural celebration. We do not promote religious beliefs, and we absolutely support our children believing what their families believe, whether faith-based or atheist.

Does Bellevue Discovery require children to be up-to-date with their vaccinations?

Yes. At Bellevue Discovery we believe in science, as do our families. All children must be up-to-date with their vaccinations according to the immunization schedule set by Washington State. Exceptions are made for children who have medical exemptions and/or who are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What is the preschool schedule?

Our part-time preschool has a September through June school year, with breaks that typically follow the Bellevue School District calendar. Both the Grasshoppers & Dragonflies Classes run Monday-Friday, 9:30am-1:00pm. While most children are ready to stay the full day (9:30am-1:00pm) starting the first week, a few children - usually those with no prior preschool experience - may need a bit more time to transition. At the end of the first week of preschool, our Early Childhood Education Director will contact families whose children may need to start with a shorter hourly schedule. Children almost always are ready to transition to the "full" schedule within 1-3 weeks. Our goal is for children to feel safe and loved and ready to learn.