Looking for a day care or preschool? Whatcom County has a variety of options

Peter Ali, right, a flute instructor at the Northwest Indian College on the Lummi reservation, improvises a song with Waldorf School students. Music is an important element of the Waldorf curriculum.
Peter Ali, right, a flute instructor at the Northwest Indian College on the Lummi reservation, improvises a song with Waldorf School students. Music is an important element of the Waldorf curriculum. Courtesy to The Bellingham.

Bellingham Preschool of the Arts: 1059 N. State St., Bellingham, baay.org/preschool, 360-306-1543.

Ages served: 21/2 to 5 years. Affiliations: BAAY.

Bellingham Preschool of the Arts offers an early-learning opportunity to develop cognitive, emotional, social and multisensory skills in an arts-rich environment through two-day preschool, three-day preschool and kindergarten readiness programs. Children involved in the arts imagine, create and express. They develop self-confidence and self-discipline, think critically, solve problems, make informed judgments, work cooperatively in groups, appreciate others’ points of view and are open to new pathways for learning. The current program offers a two-day preschool from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays; a three-day preschool from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and a kindergarten readiness add-on from noon to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Blossom Childcare and Learning Center: 2945 Douglas Ave., Bellingham, blossomchildcare.com, 360-752-2699.

Ages served: Six weeks through pre-kindergarten.

Blossom Childcare and Learning Center provides a variety of age appropriate experiences and activities in the classrooms that focus on seasons and universal concepts. While these activities may vary from class to class, teachers plan activities that are developmentally appropriate and meaningful to children. Children learn social values, such as cooperation and the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior through their play activities. In the process, they discover their own interests and strengths. The curriculum empowers children to engage in creative, meaningful play.

The Cottage School: 1615 14th St. Bellingham, thecottageschoolbellingham.com, 360-920-9053.

Ages served: children between the ages of three and a half through six.

Using the practice of nonviolent communication, the Cottage School encourages emotional intelligence and respectful relationships. It practices honoring oneself and their place on earth. Teachers use the world around them to enhance their process-oriented curriculum which includes art, science, language arts, singing/movement, mathematical solving, outdoor exploration and weekly swimming lessons. All learning is group based and individually paced. The focus on academia is a gentle, yet ever present infusion in daily routines.

Christ Lutheran Christian Preschool: 5904 Vista Drive, Ferndale, clcferndale.org/preschool, 360-380-2233.

Ages served: 3 to 5 years. Affiliations: Christ Lutheran Church, Ferndale.

Christ Lutheran Christian Preschool offers young children a Christian setting in which to grow, learn and develop physically, spiritually, intellectually and socially. The program provides a Christian atmosphere that is child-centered and hands-on.

Gabriel’s Art Kids: 2215 D St., Bellingham, gabrielsartkids.com, 360-393-0107

Ages served: Preschool.

The arts preschool provides a supportive, unhurried and non-judgmental environment, with focus on the arts; visual, music, dance and theater and self-expression. The multiple intelligence school puts a strong focus on a well-rounded education. Art is incorporated into daily lesson plans, with interdisciplinary connections between the students’ art lessons and their other classes.

Hillcrest Kids: 1400 Larrabee Ave., Bellingham, hillcrestkids.com, 360-733-8135.

Ages served: Age 1-12 years.

Hillcrest Kids is a Christian organization. No one is excluded on the basis of creed or religion. But the mission of the school is based in the historic Christian worldview as expressed in the Apostle’s Creed. Singing grace before meals, reading Bible stories in the classroom and celebrating the birth of Jesus during Christmas are just a few of the ways these beliefs are incorporated in classroom life.

Infinity Rhythm & Arts Preschool: 1897 Front Street Suite 201, Lynden, infinitydancecompany.com, 360-393-1834

Ages served: 3 and 4 (preschool and pre-kindergarten)

The mission of the preschool is founded in the belief that the arts are an essential foundation for strong academic learning. Learning dance, art and music strengthens the child’s ability to focus, reason and learn. These are taught in a fun environment while encouraging each child to learn their way, build good communication skills and understand classroom structure and respect.

Kids’ Central Preschool at Central Lutheran Church: 925 N. Forest St., Bellingham, kidscentralpreschool.org, 360-734-7180.

Ages served: 3 years through pre-school. Affiliations: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Kids’ Central Preschool offers an affordable, quality preschool experience in a loving Christian environment, where each child’s differences are celebrated.

Lakeside Co-operative Preschool: 4101 Academy St., Bellingham, lakesidecoop.com, 360-647-7578

Ages served: 3 to 5 years old.

At this non-profit early childhood education program, parents and teachers play an active role in the development and success of each child. Parent involvement keeps tuition cost low and, more importantly, engages each student and parent, creating a welcoming and safe environment.

MORE Smiles Learning Center: 738 Adelia St., Blaine, facebook.com/MoreSmilesLearningCenter, 360-332-7135.

Ages served: Up to 12 years. Capacity: 38.

The center staff believes that children learn by exploring, experimenting and having fun and emphasizes group socialization, building self-esteem and confidence and focusing on the development of each child’s strengths. The program includes exposure to such fundamental concepts as cooperation, following directions, taking turns and listening skills and offers activities involving sizes, shapes, colors, letters, numbers and language arts.

Polliwogs Learning Pond: 4010 Adams Ave., Bellingham; Facebook, 360-733-4759

Ages served: 2-6.

Polliwogs Learning Pond is a small, in-home preschool offering a full pre-kindergarten curriculum weekdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is a good place for children who would do better in a smaller group or are beginning to interact with children outside their home. With 15 years teaching experience, teachers offer a loving space that gives the child a sense of home away from home.

The Firs Adventure Preschool: 4605 Cable St., Bellingham, afterschooladventure.org, 360-733-6840.

Ages served: 3 to 5 years. Affiliations: The Firs.

With the theme “where play is learning and learning is adventure,” the school offers bilingual classes 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, with extended adventures until 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

The Firs After School Adventure: 4605 Cable St., Bellingham, afterschooladventure.org, 360-733-6840.

Ages served: Kindergarten to fifth grade.

Before- and after-school programs are available as well as all-day adventures for school holidays and teacher work days. Activities range from woodworking and fun in the forest to dance, sports, arts and science. Transportation to and from participating schools may be provided.

The Loving Tree School: Located at the The United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St., Ferndale, Facebook, 360-384-3302

Ages served: 3 to 5.

The school’s mission is the belief that children learn best in an environment where they are supported and experience joy with hands-on activities that are carefully planned to follow their interests. The program offers a balance of structure and free choice that sets a strong foundation for their lifelong learning journey. Striving to follow the teaching and example of Jesus, the staff celebrates diversity and seeks to draw the circle of inclusion wide and offer unconditional love and respect.

The PlaySchool at Perch & Play: 1707 N. State St., Bellingham, perchandplay.com, 360-393-4925.

Ages served: 5 and younger.

The PlaySchool at Perch & Play is an enrichment program focused on playful learning. The approach, blended with Reggio Emilia principles, encourages stimulation, challenge and experimentation that further the child’s development. Program is 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Lunch and healthy snack included each day. Class size limited to eight children.

Whatcom Family YMCA: 1256 N. State St., Bellingham, whatcomymca.org, 360-733-8630.

Ages served: 3 to 5 years; must be potty trained.

The Y preschool and pre-K program is located in downtown Bellingham and designed to meet the developmental needs of the whole child and strives to encourage exploration of their environment while supporting their social, emotional and cognitive growth. Full- and part-time schedules available. Activities include circle time, early math and literacy, art, music, science, swimming, field trips and rock wall climbing. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack included.

Whatcom Family YMCA: 1256 N. State St., Bellingham, whatcomymca.org, 360-733-8630.

Ages served: 5 to 12 years.

Designed with the needs of the family in mind, Y’s Kids Before and After School Enrichment gives parents a safe, affordable choice for hours between home and school. Locations available for most Bellingham and Ferndale schools. Options include full- or part-time schedules, early release and all-day programs when school is not in session. Registration forms and FAQ available online.


Bridgeway Christian Academy: 858 W. Smith Road, Bellingham, bridgeway-christian-academy.com, 360-384-5923.

Ages served: K-5.

The school is a child-centered, multi-age, hands-on learning environment that maximizes researched-based best practices with teaching strategies to develop lifelong learners. This is a school where play and wonder enhances academics and children have a deep sense of belonging and love through community building, cooperative learning and Christian values incorporated through life skills. Staff continually teaches and assesses students to meet and exceed state standards with a focus on students’ interests and needs.

Cedar Tree Montessori: 2114 Broadway, Bellingham; cedar-tree.org, 360-714-1762.

Ages served: 3-12.

Cedar Tree Montessori cultivates a passion for learning, advances academic skills and promotes peace and global awareness in a nurturing community. Curriculum includes: reading, language, writing, spelling, hands-on-math, science and social studies, as well as enrichment subjects, such as art, music, computers, physical education and Spanish. Staff promotes conflict resolution, environmental awareness, cultural studies and public service.

Hawthorne Learning Solutions: hlsolutions.net, 360-599-5033.

Ages served: Kindergarten-grade 12.

Hawthorne Learning Solutions provides educational consulting, tutoring and academic coaching tailored to families of students with learning challenges. With or without a diagnosis, staff works with parents and students, solving problems related to academic progress, placement and programming, executive skills, attention, behavior and social skills.

St. Paul’s Academy: stpaul.academy, 360-733-1750

Ages served: 2 1/2-18

St. Paul’s Academy is a preschool through 12th-grade college preparatory school (state approved and fully accredited independent school). The Little Epistles Preschool has been around for more than 40 years, with small class sizes and a collaborative curriculum that includes literacy, language, hands-on-math, science and social studies, as well as enrichment subjects, such as art, music, physical education and Spanish. Teachers provide differentiated instruction and attention for each student because of the teacher-to-student ratio. Staff strives to provide an academically rigorous environment, while enhancing a student’s social and spiritual development. The school also is home to the Annual Whatcom County Science and Engineering Fair.

Whatcom Hills Waldorf School: 941 Austin St., Bellingham, whws.org, 360-733-3164.

Ages served: Ages 21/2 to eight grade. Affiliation: American Waldorf Schools of North America.

For Waldorf students, mathematics, science, literature, history and music are not simply subjects to be read about and tested; they are experienced. Multidisciplinary experiences cultivate a lifelong love of learning and develop intellectual, emotional and physical capacities. Generous financial assistance and scholarships available for the five-day preschool and full-day child care.

Wheels of Life Community School: 2738 Orleans St., Bellingham, wheelsoflifecommunityschool.com, 360-393-1652.

Ages served: Pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.

A multi-age learning center, Wheels of Life works with home school families and full-time workers to allow for a flexible schedule to meet students’ needs. Students explore literacy, math, science, art, world studies, movement and more. As a practicing democratic community school, staff ensures each child has the knowledge to self-govern and the empowerment to take ownership for their schooling and eventually life.