We have a beautiful downtown campus, two blocks west of Bellevue Square, off NE 8th Street. Our campus features a wonderful outdoor play area with stepping logs, sand boxes, loose parts, a basketball court, and a sensory garden. Our classrooms and offices fill a dedicated, secure school building.
Challenging and nurturing children who are bright, curious and original thinkers: The Preschool at Bellevue Discovery has a 1:4 teacher-child ratio, allowing us to provide an enriched, in-depth and individualized curriculum. Our program follows best practices in progressive early childhood gifted education. We believe all young children deserve to have a joy-filled preschool experience that supports their innate desire to learn.
Founded in 2007, we are an independent nonprofit preschool for gifted children. Through a 1:4 teacher-child ratio and student-centered curriculum, our caring, qualified teachers differentiate their instruction to address the learning styles and needs of our 24 highly capable students. We maintain a safe, loving environment, focus on social-emotional development, and utilize in-depth project-based learning, both independent and collaborative, to cultivate outstanding academic and creative achievement. Our half day preschool happens 9:30 AM-1 PM, Monday-Thursday, and our Junior Kindergarten covers the same hours on Friday. Our campus is in downtown Bellevue, two blocks west of Lincoln Square, Bellevue Collection, and Downtown Park.
Why We Are Here
Thirteen years ago, Ren Cedar Fuller recognized a scarcity of early childhood gifted education in the Seattle area while exploring schools for her son. Drawing on her experience as a preschool, elementary, and middle school teacher, she envisioned an early learning center that would support young highly capable children and their families. She pursued a Master’s degree in gifted education, partnered with experts in the field, conducted countless hours of research, and continued to develop her ideas for a gifted school. Her graduate advisor, who listened to her preschool plans, finally told her to stop talking and “just do it.” Ren founded Bellevue Discovery Preschool in 2007. Four years later, the preschool became a non-profit organization to expand its vision and capacity. Today, Bellevue Discovery continues to serve the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs of highly capable children. Ren is an educational consultant, curriculum designer, and parent educator in the community, and her son, who was the inspiration for Bellevue Discovery, is a high school senior.
Why Bellevue Discovery?
First and foremost, you require a safe, loving environment for your child. You are looking for teachers who build lasting relationships with children, those with compassion, experience, and integrity.
Your child is curious, enthusiastic, and highly capable. Without inquiry and complexity, school becomes easy and boring. You seek a curriculum that challenges your child to discover, succeed, and flourish because you believe meaningful achievement requires engagement. Gifted children benefit from peer-to-peer interaction and collaborative learning.
You want your preschool to meet all your child’s needs: cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth. Intellect is only one of the key child-development factors. Based on research and data, best practices focus on the whole child.
You recognize the value of play, both free and scaffolded, in your child’s learning. Overscheduling teacher-centered instruction takes the joy out of education. Play offers numerous benefits, including cooperative learning, creative imagination, and enthusiasm for school.
You would like your child to construct a personal understanding of the world. Conformity to one-size-fits-all standards discourages independence and originality. Project-based learning allows students to direct their erudition; individual needs and interests customize the experiences.
You will depend on your preschool to well prepare your child for kindergarten. Readiness for local independent and public schools is very important to you. A program must have in-depth knowledge of kindergarten admissions requirements and thoughtfully plan to meet and exceed them.
B.S. Urban Horticulture
Project Lead Teacher and Reading Teacher
With a lifelong passion for plants, Miss Annette earned her degree from the University of Washington in Urban Horticulture. After working in that field for several years, she took time off to be a stay-at-home mom. Work with her own son and daughter led Annette to focus on her other lifelong passion: children. She joined the staff at Bellevue Discovery as a Science Lead Teacher, with a focus on outdoor learning. Over the years, one of her favorite things has been watching children make discoveries in our preschool garden.
Annette enjoys gardening, skiing, reading, hiking and camping, and loves sharing many of these experiences with her kids.
“Bellevue Discovery’s students are such fun to teach – it’s an amazing learning environment. I have always enjoyed working with children who share with me their inquisitiveness, honesty, and fun-loving natures as well as their joy and excitement about the little things in life.”
B.S. Speech and Language Therapy, M.A. Special Education, teaching certificates in Prekindergarten-12 special education and K-5 regular education
Math Lead Teacher, Reading Teacher
Miss Erica has taught regular and special education. After spending time at home with her children when they were very young, Erica returned to the classroom at Bellevue Discovery Preschool.
Erica and her husband have three sons. Her youngest is an alumnus of Bellevue Discovery. She enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and running.
“I enjoy working with the wonderful students and their families at Bellevue Discovery.”
B.F.A. Theater, with an emphasis in Acting
Drama Club (Role Plays) Lead Teacher and Outdoor Lead Teacher
After growing up in New Jersey and graduating from the University of New Mexico, Mr. Jerry moved to Seattle to pursue a career as an actor. To support his acting habit, Jerry worked in customer service management for 13 years. Jerry was a stay-at-home dad for several years, volunteering at his daughter’s school. Jerry joined the staff at Bellevue Discovery as our dramatic arts specialist, outdoor lead teacher and guitarist in 2011.
Jerry enjoys playing soccer and ice hockey and playing guitar. He loves reading history, watching movies, and spending time with his wife and kids.
“I enjoy working at Bellevue Discovery because the entire staff comes together on a daily basis for the sole purpose of giving children an interesting, creative and nurturing experience, while simultaneously preparing them for the next step in their education…and we have fun doing it!”
M.A. Fashion Design, two-year degree in Interior Design
School Skills Lead Teacher and Project Lead Teacher
After graduating from the Academy of Fine Art in Lodz, Poland, Miss Kasia moved to the United States to be with her husband. Because she loves art and design, Kasia studied and worked in the field of interior design after moving to Bellevue. She taught elementary age children for ten years at the Polish language school in Seattle, and worked as an art specialist in a local Montessori preschool before joining Bellevue Discovery.
Kasia and her husband have a daughter at university. Kasia loves to hike, raft, study architecture and spend time with her family. “Traveling with my family is my favorite thing.”
“I love to be around the children at Bellevue Discovery. It always brings me great joy.”
B.A Social Ecology, Early Childhood Advanced Core Certificate
Project Lead Teacher
After growing up in California and Massachusetts, Melissa attended the University of California, Irvine and studied Social Ecology with an emphasis in Human Behavior. She continued her studies with post-graduate work in Education. She has taught both preschool and kindergarten for many years and volunteered in the Lake Washington school district, leading reading and math groups for grades 1-5. She also taught at a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool program. From this Reggio background, Melissa brings experience with the inquiry process and a love for the project approach to learning.
Melissa and her husband have two sons who are both in high school. When she is not teaching, Melissa loves to spend her free time hiking with her family and dog, reading, cooking, watching Sounders games, scrapbooking and cheering for her sons at their various sporting events.
“I love being a part of the teaching team at Bellevue Discovery! I am drawn to the inquiry process and the project approach and am inspired by how it encourages children to think on a deeper level. I love the sense of wonder and excitement that accompanies young children as they discovery something new…it is simply magical.”
Shyamala Mathan Sankar
M.B.A., M.A. Marketing, Early Childhood Certification
Science Lead Teacher
Miss Shyamala graduated from the University of Nottingham and worked in the field of market research before moving to the United States. When her daughter attended Bellevue Discovery Preschool, she was a frequent volunteer. Through her volunteer work, she discovered the joys of teaching and supporting children. Thus, she pursued an early childhood education certification and took a part-time teacher’s assistant position. Once she completed her degree program, she became a full-time teacher with Bellevue Discovery.
Shyamala likes spending free time on art projects with her daughter. She is learning to play the piano. She also appreciates the outdoors, new restaurants on the food scene, and family travel.
“I enjoy coming to Bellevue Discovery every day. I look forward to interacting with each and every child as they each provide their own sense of joy, purpose, and wonder. This puts a smile on my face. I get to step into their own worlds and be a part of their life experiences.”