Developing Children’s Emotional and Academic Skills
The Secret Garden Preschool was founded by Laurie Smith in June of 1998.
With our focus on academic, social, and emotional growth as well as community, the Secret Garden Preschool offers many opportunities for our students to become well-rounded individuals, great students, and conscientious citizens. Through hands-on learning, children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations. The curriculum is rich with art, science, music, dance, literature, math and is balanced with opportunities for child-directed play.
We offer educational programs for children 2 1/2 to 6 years of age in Twos / Threes, Fours, and Pre K Classes. Our programs have proved to be a great foundation for success in their future educational experiences.
Laurie Smith opened the Secret Garden Preschool in 1998. She is the Director, as well as a teacher, at the Secret Garden. Laurie has a BS in Zoology, both an MS and a PhD in Microbiology and received her teaching certificate from the University of Washington as well. Because of her science background, Laurie loves working with the kids on science projects and introducing them to some basic scientific concepts.
Laurie loves her work at the Secret Garden and finds that the children are still able to teach her new things after all these years. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Greg, and her three children: Gemma, Max, and Emily.
Debbie taught at the Secret Garden since 2008 and has now taken on the duties of admissions director. She has been a part of the school, as a parent, since its beginning. She has worked with children in a variety of roles including as an assistant teacher for a Pre-K school and as a reading advocate for a Capitol Hill K-12 school. Debbie's experience as a teacher and parent makes her a valued resource to the school.
Debbie has a BA from the University of Florida and lives in Seattle with her husband, Bob, their three children Shannon, Connor, and Tierney and their dog, Jack.
Teacher Amy brings with her a love of both art and literature. She worked in architecture before her children were born and then joined forces in her husband’s freelance video business once she became a mother. She brings years of volunteer experience at her daughters’ schools as well as experience as an assistant to the art and library teachers at a local elementary school.
Amy lives in Seattle with her husband Kevin and their two daughters, Sylvia and Lydia. She started teaching at the Secret Garden in 2009.
Emily has a B.S. in Psychology and Family Studies and a M.Ed with an emphasis on School Counseling. She has worked at Childhaven, a day treatment center for abused and neglected children. Her Secret Garden journey started with being the nanny for the Smith family. She was their nanny for three years and slowly worked her way into the preschool. She taught for 3 years from 2002-2005. After that, she took some time off to start her own family. She never went far and was happy to come in and observe children and help where needed. Emily returned to the Secret Garden as a full-time teacher in 2014.
When not teaching Emily is a taxi service for her three children to all of their activities and social obligations. Occasionally, she sneaks away to the soccer field.
Teacher Sandy is our longtime music specialist at Secret Garden. Sandy incorporates music from many cultures and teaches important lessons about things like peace, respect, kindness, and compassion through the songs she teaches. Sandy teaches through a method called Kodaly and has built a music program that enriches our curriculum in countless ways. Sandy has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and has also studied Child Growth and Development.
Teachers Christine and Faith are our dance specialists. Christine has lots of experience in the preschool world as well as with older children who she teaches at the Cornish College of the Arts.
Teacher Thania grew up in the Latin culture and teaches Spanish to all our students in addition to her regular teaching responsibilities.