Frequently Asked Questions


When was Tilden founded and why?

Tilden was started in 1985 by our director, Whitney Tjerandsen. She visited over 25 schools looking for an appropriate place for her incoming Kindergarten son. The only suitable school she found was already full with a waiting list! She decided then that the only way to get both the strong academics she loved, and the kindness she felt was crucial, was to start her own school.

Where do the children play?

Every day, all Tilden students have at least 45 minutes of free-play recess  after lunch, supervised by the principal and three or four more teachers or aids. First-grade and Kindergarten students have an additional morning recess. We use three playground areas:

  1. As soon as parents leave the drop-off parking lot, we close the gates to make a huge, safe, fenced playground. During recess, students use the wide variety of play equipment stored in the shed.
  2. During lunch recess, students may choose to join a group of fewer than 30 students, supervised by a teacher and another staff member, to play on the grass at Dakota Place Park across the street to the north.
  3. One day each week, second- through fifth-grade students walk with their teachers to Hiawatha Park to enjoy the park for recess, and the big field for PE. Our PE program emphasizes exciting games requiring strategy and cooperation, ball skills, and sportsmanship.

See this post for more details.

Why would I pay tuition to have my child go to Tilden when he or she can attend public school for free?

Our class size is much smaller, and the small size of our school creates a close community feeling. In this small community, students can take the personal, social, and academic risks that develop sturdy intellects and responsive characters, in the security of clear and consistent boundaries set and maintained by caring adults. In our small classes, teachers are able to respond to the individual academic and social development of each student. We make maximum use of our students’ and teachers’ school hours, enabling us to provide a rich and rigorous program for the intellectual, artistic, social, and physical development of each student. (See also: What does your monthly tuition payment buy?)

What are your volunteer requirements?

Although we welcome parent participation, we do not require it.

What is the fundraising commitment at Tilden?

We seldom have fundraisers at Tilden. In the rare case that we do (we have had one auction and three “annual fund drives” since 1985), we have no expectation that parents must contribute.

Is Tilden accredited?

No; the state of Washington does not require accreditation until eighth grade. We are, however, a state-approved school.

Do you do standardized testing?

No. We feel that tests like the “Smarter Balanced”/WA-AIM take away at least a week of important student instruction time, impose a narrow focus to the curriculum, are unfair to students who do not test well, and do not give us any information that we don’t already have from the non-standardized, informative testing that is done here at Tilden almost every day.

Where do students go after Tilden?

Our graduates have been accepted and welcomed at almost every private and parochial middle school in the area. Some also opt to go to public schools, often in the AP programs.

How many minority students do you have?

It depends on the year, but generally we have averaged about a 15% minority student body.

Do you have before- or after-school care for students?

We offer an after-school program for current Tilden students only, from 3 to 6 pm. We do not offer a before-school program.

Is there any affiliation with the church that you rent space from?

There is no affiliation; we just rent our space from them.


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