Preschool & Education2024-05-06T15:32:21-07:00

Whether through providing care directly, partnering with other child care providers and organizations, or supporting new childcare programs, we’re working to build a community where every child has the start in life they deserve.

Preschool & Head Start

With no cost for families that qualify, Opportunity Council offers preschool services throughout Whatcom County for children between the ages of 3 and 5.

By providing quality educational environments and building strong family relationships, Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs through the Opportunity Council give children the foundation they need for success in school and in life.

Programs include:

  • A school readiness, literacy, and math-based early childhood education program
  • Individual Education Plans for every child
  • Individualization for students with disabilities
  • Interpreter support for dual language learners
  • Family Support Services and Family Engagement opportunities
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack are provided
  • Both full and part-day options
Opportunity Council offers Head Start throughout Whatcom County. For more information about Head Start in Skagit, Island, or San Juan County, visit Skagit/Islands Head Start. For all other communities in Washington, please visit the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families ECEAP & Head Start Page.


Early Head Start

A special Head Start program serving infants, toddlers, and pregnant women in Whatcom County.

Early Head Start through Opportunity Council is available to families until the child being served turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program. Services provided to pregnant mothers and families in their home include prenatal support and follow-up, weekly visits focused on developmentally appropriate play, and other socialization experiences.

For questions or more information on how to apply, call (360) 734-8396.

Other Child Care Programs

Committed to a community that supports children and families at all stages, Opportunity Council helps families find childcare that meets their needs no matter what their income.

For more childcare referrals and resources throughout Northwest Washington, contact Childcare Aware of Northwest Washington.

Early Learning & Preschool FAQ

Should I be involved with my child’s preschool?2021-09-28T11:32:47-07:00

We encourage you and all primary caregivers to volunteer and participate in all possible program components including:

  • Classroom activities
  • Training
  • Serving on parent committees
  • Helping run programs

There are also programs available to help you reach your family’s goals.

Is transportation provided?2021-09-28T11:36:56-07:00

Possibly. Transportation is available for predetermined preschool classrooms based on enrollment and need.  Transportation is also provided for select group activities like playgroups in home-based programs. For more information call call (360) 734-8396.

What are the hours of preschool like?2021-09-28T11:30:20-07:00

For preschool classrooms, we have part-day, full-day, and extended day options. Our Early Head Start programs (prenatal – age 3) offer weekly home visits. Visits take place between Monday and Friday, usually between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, and are determined by your family’s schedule.

Does my child have to be potty trained for preschool?2021-09-28T11:26:14-07:00

No, we can work on this together throughout the year.

Does my child need to be immunized to be in the program?2021-09-28T11:24:39-07:00

Yes, you will need to provide proof of state-required immunizations by the first day of class.

What health information do we need to provide to apply?2021-09-28T11:21:29-07:00

Our health coordinator will work with you and your child’s teacher to make sure your child’s health is fully supported. To enroll, you will need to provide information about your child’s most recent dental and well-exams, and their current immunizations (for a list of immunizations currently required by the Washington State Department of Health visit their website at doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Schools)


Is my family’s information private?2021-09-28T10:36:06-07:00

Yes. We keep all client application information confidential.

Are there early learning programs for children of different ages?2021-09-30T10:28:14-07:00

Yes! For families that are expecting or have children under the age of 3, we have home-based programs like Early Head Start. For children between the ages of 3 and 5, center-based programs are available throughout Whatcom County.

Are meals provided for students?2021-09-28T11:04:58-07:00

Yes, each of our preschool centers provide a schedule of meals and snacks.

Is there a cost for Opportunity Council preschool and early learning programs?2021-09-29T13:46:42-07:00

There is no cost to families that qualify for any of the early childhood education programs run by Opportunity Council.

When can my family apply for preschool or Head Start?2021-09-28T11:02:44-07:00

You can apply any time of the year. While the majority of children begin at the start of the traditional school year, whenever vacancies are available they are filled by families that have completed the eligibility process.

What if I don’t qualify for Head Start or the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program?2021-09-29T13:33:52-07:00

Feel free to apply anyway or call (360) 734-8396 for help. A percentage of all preschool programs directly operated by Opportunity Council are available for families exceeding the poverty level guidelines.

We also provide free referrals and other preschool and childcare options through our partners at Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington. For a current list of vacancies call 1-800-446-1114. 

What if my family is experiencing homelessness?2021-09-30T11:16:19-07:00

Building connections between educators and family members is key to every child’s success, making home visits and conferences key components of Opportunity Council’s early childhood education programs. We will meet your family anywhere that is comfortable, including public libraries, parks, or the homes of your friends or family members.

Experiencing homelessness and looking for help with other child care programs? Help may be available. Referral Specialists with Child Care Aware can help families determine what help they’re eligible to receive and navigate the system. Call 1-800-446-1114 or visit Child Care Aware Northwest for more information.

Who qualifies for the preschool and Head Start Programs?2021-09-28T10:52:53-07:00

Any families meeting any of the following criteria may apply.

  • Families with incomes below the Federal Poverty Guidelines 
  • Expecting parents or families with infants through preschool-aged children
  • Foster or Kinship Families
  • Families experiencing homelessness
  • Families on other forms of public assistance (including TANF and SSI)

Additionally, a percentage of our programs are reserved for families that might not otherwise meet these guidelines. For more information, please call (360) 734-8396.

Who can apply for Preschool and Early Head Start?2021-09-28T10:56:29-07:00

Any family that meets our eligibility requirements is welcome regardless of home language.

Other Services for Families

Economic Security for All (EcSA)

EcSA helps Whatcom’s Head Start/ECEAP families achieve financial success by paving a path to build a meaningful career and create confidence through financial literacy.

EcSA operates through incentivized goal plans and dual-generational financial curriculum to aid Head Start/ECEAP families to develop financial and career skills to help families obtain employment.

Our families and mentors attend financial education classes together and are matched based on compatibility and goal focus. Financial learning and goal setting continue throughout the duration of the program, with an emphasis on participant driven curriculum.

Contact us today to see if your family qualifies.  e-mail:  ecsa@nulloppco.org     phone: (360) 734-8396 Ext. 1381

Online form to request more information.

Economic Security for All – Opportunity Council and Northwest Workforce Council are funded in part by Federal WIOA funds. The Opportunity Council and the Northwest Workforce Council are equal opportunity employers/programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Washington Relay Service: 711

Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD)

Access to Baby & Child Dentistry is a program that helps kids from birth until their 6th birthday get dental care.

Dentists who participate in ABCD are specially trained to work with young children.

For more information contact 360-734-8396 x1353.

Dental Care Resources for Kids

ASL Services

A current list of Opportunity Council programs and services is available in American Sign Language


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