Open Circle was founded in October 2009 (as Seattle’s Progressive Preschool) by two Seattle parents, Derek Stanley and Cynthia Rowand, based on their positive cooperative education experiences with their own children and their desire to integrate social and environmental values into a preschool curriculum. Though there are existing schools that are based around particular themes or causes, Derek and Cynthia wanted to create a school that embraced the full spectrum of social and environmental issues that fall under the progressive umbrella.
From our choice of toys, to our service activities and our location on bus lines, we strive to make every decision consistent with good environmental stewardship and social justice.
Rather than focusing on one central issue, our model allows members of the coop to bring issues that are relevant to their families directly into the classroom. The personalization of the school’s curriculum is aimed at helping families of varying backgrounds understand one another and invigorate the program each year with fresh energy.
Open Circle believes that economic diversity among its students benefits all of the students, as well as their participating family members. We specifically reserve a number of spots in our class for families with household incomes of less than 200% of federal poverty guidelines, and we offer financial aid to those families demonstrating the most need.
We strive to make the coop work for all interested families by seeking families of all races, ethnicities, economics and religions. Same-sex families and alternative family structures (such as single parented homes and kindercare arrangements) families are welcomed and celebrated.