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The 2023-2024 school year is our 70th year! Highlands Preschool was organized in 1953 as an independent preschool. This means that we are not affiliated with, or supported by, any church, government or other organization. In 1967, Highlands Preschool was granted official 501c3 non-profit status. This is a unique combination for a preschool - independent of any parent organization, with education as our primary focus rather than profit. This allow us to dedicate ourselves to giving preschoolers of all backgrounds a positive first learning experience to prepare them for kindergarten.

A Child Learns By Doing
Our philosophy of education centers around "play." Through play, many important behavior and social skills are learned and practiced: the development of independence and self-esteem, sharing, taking turns, accepting limits, using self-control and following directions.

Your child will learn by exploring and experiencing open-ended art projects, stories, songs, games, music, dramatic play, free play, outdoor play and circle time. The curriculum is woven seamlessly into these fun and lively activities so your child is always learning through active play.

Our curriculum surpasses national standards. The depth and extent of the curriculum are appropriately adjusted by age level, and include the exploration of:

  • Letters and Numerals: how they are shaped differently, how letters have different sounds and how they are put together to form words; how different numerals show different amounts.
  • Shapes, Colors and Sounds: through activities such as matching, patterning, graphing and charting.
  • Science and Math: hands-on learning by measuring, weighing, estimating, counting and experimenting.
  • Language Skills: through stories, songs, poems, guessing and acting out.

    Please visit our Curriculum page for a more in-depth outline of curriculum activities by age level.

    Our Staff

    TEACHERS: Mrs. Tofte
  • Melanie Tofte (formerly Gallagher) has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Early Childhood Education from Washington State University. She previously taught Kindergarten for the Issaquah School District (Maple Hills Elementary). This is Mrs. Tofte's 15th year teaching at Highlands Preschool. She is our PreK (4s) Program Coordinator. Mrs. Czerwinski

  • Katie Czerwinksi has a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Louisiana Tech University and previously taught Kindergarten in Louisiana and for the Renton School District (Hazelwood Elementary). This is Mrs. Czerwinski's 12th year teaching with us. Mrs. Mac

  • Shannon MacGillivray also known as "Mrs. Mac," has a bachelor's degree in Humanities and Liberal Studies from Western Washington University, trained with us, and has now taught at Highlands Preschool for 21 years. Mrs. Mac is our E3 ("Early Threes") Program Coordinator. Mrs. Matthews

  • Gizel Matthews holds an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Renton Technical College, and a Montessori Teaching Certificate from Holy Cross Institute. Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Mrs. Matthews taught Pre-K for six years at St. Gabriel's Early Learning Center there, and served as the school's Principal for another four years. We are thrilled to have her return for her third year teaching at Highlands Preschool.

  • Maeve Gallagher joins us for her third year as our Teacher Assistant (TA) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Miss Maeve is a former Highlands Preschool graduate and will complete her Associate of Arts degree from Bellevue College this winter.

    ADMINISTRATION: Mrs. Beckman Householder
  • Karen Beckman Householder is our Administrator and Registrar. "Miss Karen" holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington with a concentration in Human Resource Management. This is Miss Karen's 23rd year with Highlands Preschool.

    Our Board of Directors
    Parents and guardians of enrolled children are automatically members of the Association. Government of the Association is conducted by our Board of Directors, which is similar to a PTA. The Board is made up of parents of preschool children who perform various volunteer tasks, set policies and financial goals.

    See what other parents have to say about Highlands Preschool by visiting our Guestbook!