Northwest Center Kids Early Learning

Two boys and a teacher play a game.

A Place Where Learning Takes Root, Empathy Grows, and Every Child Belongs

We believe that when children with and without disabilities learn and play together, all of them reach their full potential. It’s a principle going back to 1965, when our founders fought for the rights of all children to receive an education, and an approach we’ve been perfecting since Northwest Center introduced inclusive early learning in 1980. Today, Northwest Center Kids Early Learning provides high-quality care and education to children with and without developmental delays or disabilities and challenging behaviors. In our classrooms, all children are welcomed, celebrated, and nurtured so they can learn and thrive together.

Quality Preschool for Kids With and Without Disabilities


Two preschool girls play in a sensory table.

A Play-Based Curriculum that Fosters Learning

Our classrooms follow the Creative Curriculum, a research-based curriculum that nurtures the individual learning and development of each child through the use of play and developmentally appropriate routines and activities.

Teachers Who Nurture the Individual Child

Children in our inclusive classrooms learn from teachers who are educators and also nurturers. We observe each child’s strengths and needs, then add activities to support individual learning experience.

Inclusive Early Childhood Education Expertise Since 1965

Our thoughtful approach to inclusive education is built on decades of experience and research, and our programs are led by experts in early childhood education, disability, and child development. To us, inclusive education means attending to the needs of all children in the same program and valuing each child as an individual within the group. Our model of learning is designed to support every child—with and without disabilities—to learn, grow, and have fun in an environment that is both stimulating and secure. See some of our Frequently Asked Questions at the link below.

A woman holds hands with a girl and a boy outdoors wearing winter coats.

Stable, Ongoing Connections with Caregivers

We create safe, stable environments to help children feel secure. Rather than transition infants to a new classroom at age one, they stay with the same teacher for at least the first two years. This Continuity of Care model extends to our pre-K classrooms, where each class has two lead teachers who remain with the students throughout their time at Northwest Center.

Toddlers seated at a table eating.

Healthy, Kid-Friendly Vegetarian Meals Prepared On-Site Each Day

Our chef prepares fresh and tasty plant-based breakfasts, lunches, and snacks each day. Children old enough for solid foods gather to enjoy meals family-style. Inclusive mealtimes support social-emotional, oral-motor, and sensory learning by allowing all children to see, hear, and taste foods together at the table while benefiting from imitation and a shared sensory experience with their peers. We are an equal opportunity provider and participate in the USDA Child & Adult Care Food Program to ensure children are receiving adequate nutrition for their growing bodies.

A boy playing on a playground with bright blue skies in the background.

Accessible and Creative Play for Every Stage and Ability

Play is essential for children’s healthy brain development and supports gross motor, regulation, social-emotional, educational, and attention skills. We offer ample room and playtime for children with and without disabilities throughout the day in their classrooms and also in two dedicated play spaces: an indoor motor room and a rooftop playground.

A Commitment to Disability Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

We define disability inclusion this way: people with disabilities are welcomed, seen, valued, and appreciated for their individual contributions in the classroom, workplace, and community.

At Northwest Center Kids, we honor diversity of all kinds in our student and staff populations including race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and marital status. We strive to be culturally responsive to all families, respecting their values and beliefs and sharing them with the diverse population we serve. We recognize that diverse experiences are important to acknowledge, especially as they intersect with disability. We follow formal processes and engage in continued education to ensure that all children and families feel seen and heard. We are always learning and listening in order to make every experience as safe, positive, and validating as possible. Contact us to learn more.

A boy using a walker and a man stand outdoors.

A Welcoming Space in the Heart of Seattle

Since 2010, Northwest Center Kids has been part of the downtown Seattle community. Our secure location in the Chinook building provides bright, windowed classroom spaces, a colorful rooftop playground used all year long, and a convenient location for drop-offs and visits from parents who work downtown. Our curriculum often takes advantage of Seattle’s history and attractions, whether we’re taking children on a walk to the library or on public transportation to one of Seattle’s museums, farmer’s markets, or Pike Place Market. We’re proud to offer high-quality early education and ample activity space for kids of all abilities, right downtown.


Why Inclusive Early Learning?

Sometimes the most important lessons are the ones children learn from each other.

Inclusive environments have been shown to benefit children with and without disabilities. When kids are included together, they naturally learn that every human has unique skills, needs, and abilities. Children learn empathy and develop creativity as they make friends with a variety of other kids.

Disability inclusion goes hand-in-hand with our emphasis on the development of social-emotional skills, such as the child’s ability to regulate emotions and engage in positive interactions with peers. Together, we support children of all abilities to build a foundation for school readiness—and for a world that’s filled with a remarkable array of interesting, incredible people.

Want to Include Kids with Disabilities at Your Early Learning School? We Can Help.

A close up of a girl with Down's Syndrome sitting on the floor with her classmates during circle time.

At Northwest Center Kids, we believe that with the right training and support, all early learning educators can successfully include children with disabilities and challenging behaviors. Visit Northwest Center Kids IMPACT (Inclusion Mentorship Program for increasing Access in Childcare Team) to explore online courses, training, and consultations created to help early childhood educators, administrators, school districts, and private education programs adopt inclusive practices.