The Children’s Museum of Tacoma plans to offer its first preschool classes this fall.
The museum announced the program today in an email to members. Children ages 3-5 are eligible, and the school will operate three mornings and two afternoons a week.
The nonprofit museum opened its new, expanded facility on Pacific Avenue earlier this year. Director Tanya Andrews told me this morning that a preschool will satisfy a long-time item on the staff’s wish list.
“The new museum offers us opportunities that we didn’t have in our old home,” she said. It’s easier for parents to park, or drop kids off, at 1502 Pacific Ave. than it was at the Broadway location. The new museum has more classroom space, and it’s flooded with natural light. The art room is better suited for separate activities, and the play areas are more varied.
The preschool will run between Sept. 11 and May 23. Morning sessions are offered Tuesday through Thursday, and afternoon sessions on Tuesday and Thursday only. Andrews said she’s shooting for total enrollment of no more than 40 kids.
The school will cost between $250 and $375 a month. In keeping with the museum’s commitment to be affordable for everyone, parents can participate as they might in a cooperative school. Parents who prefer the co-op model, in which they can volunteer time in exchange for a reduced enrollment cost, will save about $100 a month. Andrews said the morning session and afternoon session each will have about 4-5 co-op slots, though that number could increase.
“We are a pay-as-you-will facility, so every familiy can feel like a visit is within reach,” she said. “We’d really like to see an economically blended preschool program.
“We need to be able to sustain it as a nonprofit business, but we’ll push the envelope” on reducing enrollment costs, Andrews said. “No preschool is getting wealthy, let’s be honest. But our mission doesn’t require us to make a lot of profit, so we’re committed to keeping this affordable.”
To learn more about enrollment requirements, teachers and educational philosophy, go the museum’s page at www.playtacoma.org/preschool.