The journey begins

Entering Kindergarten is an amazing step in a child’s growth, and a significant transition for a child and their family. It is not only the next natural step after a preschool/pre-K experience, but the entry point for a child’s K-12+ educational journey. Our goal is to help children develop their understanding, wonderment, and respect for the world around them, while kindling their curiosity, amazement, and love for learning.

Is your child ready for kindergarten at Tilden?

The education program offered at Tilden School provides a unique learning experience in a small environment with a high adult-to-student ratio. Our focus is strongly academic, traditionally structured, and community oriented. 

Things to consider

All children develop at varying rates and along varying paths. Some areas of growth are stronger or more dominant at any one point in time. There are many fits and starts along the way. Generally speaking, however, there are some keys to assessing if your child is ready to start kindergarten with moderate confidence. There is a lot of information out there. Check around. Read up. Talk with other parents and family members about their children’s experiences. Talk and listen openly to your child’s preschool teachers and other care providers. Above all, listen to your gut. Ultimately this is a decision about what is best for your child at this point in time, regardless of the outside noise of expectations, opinions, traditions, conveniences, and family/peer relationships. Here are a few points to consider: 

  • Has your child been exposed to and shown interest in letters, word play, books, pre-reading?
  • Does your child enjoy playing semi-structured games with other children?
  • Does your child actively participate in conversation with adults outside of their household?
  • Is your child willing to follow directions from other adults?
  • Does your child know when to say “Please” and “Thank You” in the proper context?
  • Can your child properly hold scissors, crayons, and other small writing implements?
  • Can your child play independently and enter group play with peers?
  • Can your child listen to you read a story book attentively?
  • Can your child dress themselves mostly independently?
  • Can your child use the bathroom mostly independently?
  • Can your child problem-solve without using physical force?
  • Can you be away from your child for reasonable periods of time in the day without reports of tummy aches and a lot of crying when you are away?
  • Are you able to drop your child off in someone else’s care, knowing that they will eventually self-regulate

Be assured your child is truly a creative, intelligent, curious, and amazing child, even if these questions didn’t elicit an immediate “yes.” If several, or many, fell into a “well, not really” category, it may be important to take a closer look at your child’s readiness for a full K program. Each child is on his or her own developmental path. That path is determined by your child’s own magic, not necessarily by the deadlines and calendars set by schools and districts. The best thing you can do to help your child start school successfully, and kindle a joy for learning, is to cherish and honor your child’s unique growth path and provide him or her with experiences and opportunities to develop readiness skills. Many children prosper with a little extra time. There is no rush. As you have heard before about children, time with them goes by much too quickly.

Talk candidly with your child’s preschool teacher or care provider, critically observe your child interacting with other groups of children, and fully explore the various options of preschool, pre-K, and two-year K programs in our region. Most importantly, take the time to be an informed advocate for your child’s education.

Our age admission requirement

We follow Seattle Public Schools’ cut-off which means that students must turn five by August 31 in order to be eligible for Kindergarten that year. We are a small school and, as each new group of children begins their six-year journey with us, we strive to put that group on a steady path with each other in regards to their academic, social, emotional, and physical development. In our experience, we believe a child’s developmental age, more significantly than their chronological age, is a critical factor in determining the readiness of a child for starting their formal education. For those of you who have children with summer birthdays, please note that our data from past students indicates that, frequently, students with later summer birthdates experience social, emotional, and/or academic struggles in their school experience. Remember, your child is not only starting Kindergarten, but stepping onto a path toward middle school, high school, and college.

Immunization requirement

To attend Tilden School, all students must provide proof of immunization or a certificate of exemption, either for medical necessity or a bona fide religious belief. It is the policy of the school that students who seek an exemption from the required proof of immunization on the basis of their philosophical or personal objection to immunization will not be permitted to attend.