Frequently Asked Questions

When was Tilden founded and why?

Tilden was started in 1985 by Whitney Tjerandsen. She visited over 25 schools looking for an appropriate place for her kindergarten son. She decided 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.

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 smaller, which encourages personal, social, and academic stretching that develops sturdy intellects and responsive characters. We have a low student-to-adult ratio. We set clear and consistent boundaries maintained by caring adults. We make maximum use of our students’ and teachers’ school hours, providing a rich and rigorous program for the intellectual, artistic, social, emotional, and physical development of each student.

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

We currently offer an after-school enrichment program for current Tilden students, from 3 to 6 pm, Monday through Thursday. 

What accommodations are offered?

Although Tilden does not have staff specialists to accommodate all types of student learning differences, with parental support and outside specialists, we may be able to provide accommodations that are appropriate for your student.  As such, it is important to communicate this information in admission materials, and throughout your student’s learning experience.  Our staff and administration will be in close conversation with each family to determine whether our resources are able to successfully support the academic, social, behavioral, and developmental trajectory appropriate to meet your student’s needs

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 in that format, and do not give us information that we don’t already have from the non-standardized, informative testing we do here at Tilden almost every day. Note that, at the college application level, standardized testing is increasingly optional, with a significant trend towards test-blind admissions.

Where do students go after Tilden?

Our graduates have been accepted and welcomed at every private, parochial, and public middle school in the area.

What are your volunteer requirements?

We welcome parent participation, but do not require it.

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

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

Is Tilden accredited?

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

Where do the children play?

All Tilden students have 45 minutes of free-play recess after lunch every day, supervised by the principal, teachers, and aids. Younger students have an additional morning recess. We use our fenced off parking lot, and Dakota Place Park across the street, as playground areas. Once the parking lot is clear of morning drop-off vehicles, additional gates are set in place for extra safety and blocking runaway balls. A wide variety of play equipment is available for both recesses.

“My daughter attended 6 years at Tilden and loved her daily life there. She was always excited to go to school; made great friends and had a great education. I found myself wishing I had gone to Tilden. The work she brought home never ceased to amaze me – art, math, writing skills, reading, science – I could tell the lessons were well thought out and engaging. Personally I really enjoyed meeting the other parents and collaborating on kid events. Some of us still get together and are now life long friends. I truly feel lucky we found Tilden!”

— Alumni Parent