Investment in a strong early childhood program is a top priority for Bellingham Public Schools, as stated in our strategic plan, The Bellingham Promise.  With the support of Bellingham voters who approved a supplemental levy in 2010, Bellingham was out of the gate early in Washington state in moving to full-time kindergarten for all students in all elementary schools.  This year, that effort has continued, as we learn from the experience of our teachers and students in ways that will shape programmatic decisions to ensure that all entering kindergarteners can experience early and continuing success.  We continue to build excellent preschool opportunities for Bellingham students, and to provide the necessary program leadership for our preschool offerings.  Over time, we envision that every student in the Bellingham community will enjoy access to a high-quality preschool experience that will enable them to come to kindergarten ready to learn.

  • Developmental Preschool
  • Full Day Kindergarten
  • Kindergarten Registration
  • Early Entrance – Promise K
  • Community Partnerships
  • Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)
  • Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 Alignment (P-3)

Developmental Preschool

Early Childhood Preschool programs provide a language-based curriculum to students ages 3-4 with developmental delays. Resource programs provide direct, integrated, and/or consultative services to students with mild to moderate disabilities in general education. Resource programs are based in every elementary, middle and high school.
Preschool programs are based in the following locations:
  • Alderwood Elementary
  • Birchwood Elementary
  • Geneva Elementary
  • Happy Valley Elementary
  • Northern Heights Elementary
  • Sunnyland Elementary

Contact: Coleen Aylen 360-676-6470 ext.4408


Full Day Kindergarten

Thanks to supportive voters, Bellingham Public Schools got a jumpstart on early learning to become a state leader in providing full-time kindergarten for all students since fall 2011. Now as the state is starting to fund more full-time kindergarten, Bellingham is again taking the lead to offer more preschool opportunities.

Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for fall 2017 runs from the beginning of March through the end of April. Children must be 5 before Sept. 1 to attend kindergarten. Check with your school office for early entrance opportunities. View the registration webpage for information about kindergarten registration.


Early Entrance to Kindergarten & Promise Kindergarten 

Early Entrance – If your child’s fifth birthday falls after August 31 and you are interested in having your child evaluated for early entrance to kindergarten to attend school in the fall, please view our early entrance policy, procedure and form (application due by May 1). When applying for early entrance, please complete the following questionnaires: Parent Questionnaire, Teacher Questionnaire and return them to the District Office.  Assessments and evaluations for early entrance will occur in May 2017.

Promise K(indergarten)

Promise K is a free, full-day early entrance kindergarten for children who are scheduled to enter kindergarten in the fall.  The program focuses on basic academic and social skills to help qualifying students get a jump start towards success in school. Students must demonstrate financial, academic and social/emotional needs. The estimated start date is January 30, 2017 and will follow the district calendar.

Contact Kris Newberry 360-676-6470 ext. 4457

View our Promise K video below.


GRADS (Graduation, Reality And Dual-role Skills) is a program for pregnant and parenting students that provides the academic and childcare support necessary to stay in high school and graduate. GRADS is available at no cost to pregnant teens and young parents under the age of twenty-one who live in Bellingham or Whatcom County and have not graduated from high school. The program is located at Sehome and Squalicum High Schools. Students attend regular high school courses as well as receive instruction in units of study related to: pregnancy, parenting, positive self-image and economic independence.

To view the program brochure, click here.

grads graduation 2

Community Partnerships

Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)

WaKIDS is a transition process that helps to ensure a successful start to the K-12 experience and connect the key adults in a child’s life. Please visit the WaKIDS website for more information.

Three Components of WaKIDS 

  1. Family connection welcomes families into the Washington K-12 system as partners in their child’s education.
  2. Whole-child assessment gives kindergarten teachers information about the social/emotional, physical, cognitive, language, literacy and mathematics development of the children in their classrooms, so they may tailor their instruction to the individual needs of each child.
  3. Early learning collaboration aligns practices of early learning professionals and kindergarten teachers to support smooth transitions for children.

Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 Alignment (P-3)

P-3 is a comprehensive reform strategy, focused on ensuring that all children develop the cognitive and social skills that establish strong foundations for future learning. Please visit the Northwest Educational Service District 189 website for more information.