Lakeside Cooperative Preschool provides a safe environment in which students can experience a wide range of physical, social, and intellectual activities through a cooperative, play-based education model. We meet children at their individual levels and provide developmentally-appropriate learning opportunities to prepare them for elementary school and beyond.

All members of Lakeside—students, families, and staff—contribute to the improvement of our school and community, bringing diverse strengths into the classroom and to the roles that manage our school. Whether it is maintenance and material prep, working directly with the children, or school administration. 

Lakeside teaches children the fundamentals of being in a community; how to communicate ideas and needs, share space, compromise, and respect each other’s bodies and work. Our children gain independence and self-confidence, while they learn to interact with peers and adults besides their family members. Alongside early literacy and math skills, Lakeside students leave with the social skills needed to move on to a kindergarten classroom.

Lakeside is affiliated with Whatcom Community College Parent Education Program offering an educational experience for both parents and children. Our affiliation with WCC provides a parent education facilitator, Michelle Malone, training and support systems for our teachers and board, access to classroom resource materials, and student status for enrolled parents that includes student rates at the child development center, Whatcom and Western library use, counseling services, and participating student discounts.

Lakeside Cooperative Preschool is an inclusive program working with the Bellingham School District to integrate students receiving speech and language services into our classes.


  • Develop a positive self image.
  • Experience and develop trust with other adults outside of their family.
  • Increase independence, feelings of competence, social skills, and problem solving abilities.
  • Learn to cooperate with and care for other children.
  • Express themselves through materials, movement, and language.
  • Increase a sense of curiosity through a variety of hands-on experiences.
  • Develop an awareness of their world.


  • Develop realistic expectations of children at various stages of growth and development.
  • Gather resources from teachers and parents to create a stimulating environment for children to develop their physical, cognitive, and social skills.
  • Develop a support system for yourself, your child, and your family.
  • Work creatively and cooperatively on the operation of the preschool.

Preschool is a safe and nurturing place to learn social skills. We believe preschool is the perfect place to learn about our emotions and how our behavior can affect ourselves and others. Our teachers act as facilitators in helping children learn appropriate ways to interact with their classmates, teachers, and environment.


Preschool is a safe and nurturing place to learn social skills, understand emotions, and learn how our behavior can affect ourselves and others. We see ourselves as facilitators in learning appropriate ways to interact with our classmates, adults, classroom, and learning environment.    We promote self-regulation and social skill development rather than using punitive discipline, and strive to build an inviting, creative and fun learning environment for our children to grow and learn.  

During their time in Preschool and Pre-K, students will be working on social-emotional skill development in several areas, including:

  • communicating needs and emotions verbally
  • self-regulation skills – coping techniques, patience, learning to wait, turn taking and sharing
  • recognizing emotions and needs of self and others (empathy)
  • understanding personal space and respecting others’ need for personal space and autonomy
  • friendship skills – initiating play, involving/including others, working and playing cooperatively
  • problem solving and conflict resolution
  • respecting and welcoming each other’s differences and similarities
  • respecting nature and taking care of environment in the classroom and outdoors

The teachers and adults in the classroom will support students’ development by:

  • creating an environment where students feel safe, capable, and connected (which increases motivation to follow expectations and try new things)
  • recognizing and supporting each child’s individual needs and level of skill development
  • providing consistent, positively-phrased, and clearly-worded expectations
  • demonstrating and modeling expected behaviors and problem-solving skills
  • providing opportunities for practice of expected behaviors and problem-solving skills
  • creating a safe space for processing emotions and calming if needed before rejoining group
  • seeing mistakes as an opportunity to learn (for adults and children!)
  • recognizing challenging behaviors as opportunities to teach skills or clarify expectations
  • providing reminders, choices, or redirection as needed 

For children who need more guidance in self-regulation and social-emotional development, we promote problem-solving skills, redirecting children to another activity, and giving them choices. Some children may need to have a quiet, safe place to process their situation or emotions.  A teacher will offer the child support and guidance, or will give the child time to independently comfort themselves if the child chooses before rejoining the group.  On rare occasions a parent may be called to pick up their child if the student feels sick, is continuing to have a hard time after adult support, or is engaging in unsafe or disruptive behavior that impacts the needs of other students in the class.   If a child goes home early, a teacher will call parents at the end of the school day to collaboratively support the student’s social-emotional needs and growth. 

Your Lakeside Teachers,  

Sonia Kalvert and Angie Nako


Lakeside Cooperative Preschool welcomes students and parents/caregivers of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, creed, religion, sex, or sexual-orientation, disability, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or genetic information. The preschool is a non-denominational, non-profit, equal-opportunity organization, and is affiliated with Whatcom Community College parent education.