Start Here Preschool is a unique early childhood program designed for parents who have both the time and the interest in being involved in their preschoolers' first educational experience. The school's philosophy is that children's learning should be developmentally appropriate and facilitated through play, and also that parents are an important part of a child's education.

Incorporated as a co-op preschool, Start Here has only two paid staff-members, the teachers. The school operates through the daily efforts of parents. It is parents who keep the child to adult ratio low by volunteering in class on a rotating basis. Parents also oversee the day-to-day operation of the school through filling positions on the school's non-profit board of directors. The building maintenance is also completed by parents. As a result of this level of participation, parents have a familiarity with all aspects of their children's preschool experience that simply isn't possible through any other program structure.

When children walk in the door at Start Here preschool, they want to stay. Start Here provides a classroom environment that is welcoming to children and supports learning. The space is divided into interest areas that appeal to children and encourage distinct kinds of play. Throughout the school year, children see their artwork on the wall or hanging from the ceiling and feel a sense of belonging. Start Here prepares children for kindergarten first through social and emotional development. The school functions on the belief that in order for children to be ready for a traditional classroom setting, they first must learn how to interact constructively with their teachers and peers. This social and emotional instruction comes in a variety of ways. In circle time, children learn to expand their levels of self-control, to listen when their teachers are talking, and to take turns speaking. Children also learn these important social skills during free-play time, when the teachers and parent volunteers model how to give and take through play.    Children's natural interests are encouraged at Start Here through the constantly changing themed units incorporated throughout the year. While the teachers continue to expand and add to the themes used, some long-standing units include dinosaurs, space, oceans, and transportation. For each unit, the teachers transform the classroom using decorations, books, manipulatives, puzzles, and theme- appropriate toys. In circle time, the teachers expand upon the current theme with books and songs.

At Start Here, children's academic instruction is given at a developmentally appropriate level. Children learn early academic skills during circle time, with its focus on literacy, but also during learning center times. These small-group settings involve no more than five children to one adult and allow children to explore at a deeper level a topic or project within the school's current themed unit. Founded in 1973, Start Here has been an enduring contributor to the school community in Redmond. The long-standing success of the preschool is the best evidence for the quality of education that the school provides for the preschool child. The requirements of the program on the part of parents mean it is not the right choice for every family, but for those who do choose it, Start Here becomes a memorable and treasured part of the special preschool years for both parent and child.