The WPC Kindergarten Program is led by Teacher Rachel Troutman, who originally joined the school in 2006 as a preschool parent. She realized there was a need for a play-based kindergarten co-op in Seattle so she helped start one! The experience of Teacher Rachel’s kindergarten students is filled with wonder due to her construction of weekly themes that are woven into activities such as cooking, art projects, science experiments, social and emotional exercises, and outdoor play. Frequent field trips, along with fitness, music, and drama programs are also part of the curriculum. Her graduates leave ready for the first grade.
“My name is Rachel. Our family has loved Woodland Park Co-op since we started here ten years ago. I am thankful that the parents and Teacher Tom are allowing me to teach and learn and grow in a place that is already so special to me.
A little about myself: I have been with my wife of one year for 25 years and we have two girls. We also have four cats and one day hope to have a dog as well.
Before coming to Woodland Park, I worked at Whittier Kids preschool which is run through the Phinney Neighborhood Association. I have also worked and volunteered at Daniel Bagley Elementary school.
I am a graduate of the University of Michigan and am currently gaining more early childhood education knowledge at North Seattle College.
I enjoy reading, drawing, painting, biking and making stuff. My favorite movie is still Star Wars (ugh, A New Hope) and some of my favorite books for kids are Little Bear, Frog and Toad, the Frances books, Grumpy Bird, A Mother for Choco and The Mountain that Loved a Bird.”
Kids learn so much through Play. I loved participating in Teacher Rachel’s class and watching my son make sense of the world though play and learn to trust his own feelings. – Ashwin Raju / Kindergarten Alumni parent
Our son was a part of Teacher Rachel’s inaugural year and we are so proud of what the kindergarten program has become. It was a perfect fit for our family as it provided that “gap year” between the Woodland Park 4’s program and our wanting our son to be on the older side when he entered public school kindergarten (he’s a summer birthday). Teacher Rachel provides an inclusive, love of leading and all around lovely classroom environment. Our family is a strong believer in play based learning and we’re still reaping the benefits from those foundation years at Woodland Park as we continue our education within Seattle Public Schools. – Ashley Copen / Kindergarten Alumni parent
Kindergarten does NOT have to be the new 1st grade! Teacher Rachel is amazing and our entire family has benefited so much from being in her class. School days are 5 hours long with at least 1.5 hours of outside time and an active emphasis on social, emotional and play-based learning. You can tell that it is really important for Teacher Rachel to teach her students (and their parents) skills that they can use after they leave the coop. There were some tough behaviors in the class and Teacher Rachel and a parent educator worked tirelessly for months to give the students and parents tools and knowledge for conflict resolution. This could happen at any school but because of the nature of this coop, it became a learning opportunity for all of us that will last long after the co-op year is over. We chose Woodland Park Coop because our kids are very shy but have a lot of energy and we were concerned that going from a 4 hour preschool to a 7 hour kindergarten was too big of a jump especially with significantly less outside time. That extra year of working on social/emotional skills and PLAY was exactly what our older kid needed. He is in 1st grade now and is thriving! Many families also enroll kids in the K program who are not sure if their kid is ready for regular kindergarten. – Vanny Him / Kindergarten Alumni parent