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The Giddens School Approach


Since its inception, Giddens School’s approach to teaching and learning has been steeped in the educational philosophy promoted by John Dewey and commonly referred to as progressive education.

Progressive education is grounded by the following tenets:

  • respect for diversity and a commitment that each individual should be seen for their ideas, interests, needs, and identities, and
  • the development of a critical stance that allows individuals to participate fully and intelligently in a democracy. 

Schools that adhere to a progressive philosophy prepare children to become citizens who fully participate in democratic institutions and ways of life. They do this by attending to the development of children’s intellect and also to their social and emotional development. Progressive educators understand children as whole beings that need support, care, and challenge to thrive in all the ways they are able.  In short, progressive education focuses on the whole child and the development of that child to become a productive citizen in a democracy.


Securing the Future

of Giddens School

Giddens School is at a defining moment

Unless we find a new  home in the short-term, our future is in jeopardy. The reasons are simple: our building is seismically unsound, well past its useful life, and not up to the standards needed to continue to be a viable option for new families.

Giddens operates in a rented space in a former parochial school owned by the Archdiocese of Seattle. This arrangement, among others, has served us well for our first 45 years, but will not put is in place for success moving forward. 

If you are one of the many who care about Giddens School,

either because of the benefit it has brought to you, your children, or if you've come to support our unique approach to early childhood and elementary education, join us to learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we have to put the school on solid footing.


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A Unique Opportunity

Lake Washington Girls Middle School (LWGMS), also located in the Central District, is facing an almost identical dilemma as Giddens School. It also rents space in an aging parochial school building owned by the Archdiocese, which would require a significant investment to make it both seismically safe and support its mission.

LWGMS and Giddens share a similar mission and set of values. Both are committed to providing an excellent education grounded in the values of diversity and social justice. 

Through careful negotiation, we have devised a plan to jointly occupy a brand new campus and build our facilities at 2101 22nd Ave S, current site of the Imperial Lanes bowling alley.

Both schools have engaged an architect, Graham Baba, to design a campus that will allow each school to flourish, yet preserve our separate identities. The cost savings of sharing a campus are dramatic: everything from permitting to site prep to actual construction costs, and, once completed, maintenance and upkeep costs.

When completed, this new facility will allow both schools to thrive in a far more cost-effective way than if each school built separate facilities. It is the kind of cooperation that the philanthropic community has been asking for, and will create a model that could potentially lead to similar agreements among like-minded non-profits in the future.


More Than a Mission Statement

Parents who choose Giddens from among the many independent schools in the Seattle region do so because our mission is more than a statement on paper; it’s a way of being in community. For over forty years, Giddens has been an important part of school choice in Seattle’s educational landscape.

Giddens is a community of early childhood and elementary-age learners where diversity is seen as an asset, where social justice and fairness are central to everything we do, and where children experience a love of learning and exploration.

“At Giddens, they don’t just talk the talk, they definitely walk the walk” is how one parent described the widespread sentiment shared by members of the Giddens community.

Part of that “walk” is our unique place in the independent school landscape. In addition to our broad economic, racial and class diversity, we draw on families who are not typically affiliated with independent schools. Many have children both at Giddens and in the public school system. Many of our students go on to Middle and High school in the public schools. We are truly there to meet student and family needs.

Another part of our walk is the high percentage of students (35%) who receive financial aid. This is the highest of independent schools in our area. And our families who pay full tuition know that part of what they pay goes to provide opportunities for other families unable to afford the full cost.

Families who pay full tuition are committed to providing high quality educational opportunities for those who need it. One of the benefits of their tuition dollars as helping to create a truly diverse learning environment not only for their own children but for the community at large.


Benefits to the Giddens Community



A new home will enable Giddens to expand its enrollment by approximately 20 percent, creating more financial stability and giving more families the opportunity to experience a Giddens education steeped in social justice and academic excellence.


Outdoor Playspaces

The playground is an important learning tool: where appreciation of diversity, fairness and kindness can be practiced outside of the structured classroom. We will develop play spaces that support our diversity of developmental stages and provide more opportunity for sports and collaborative games.


A State of the Art Learning Center

Just like other experts and professionals, teachers need spaces to learn together and from each other. We will be able to host groups of educators to learn from us and us from them to further our commitment to academics, justice, and social emotional development.



Our new facility will include a science/art lab in which students and teachers invent to learn and engage the world through inquiry and representation.



The facility will provide independent, one to one, small group, and large group opportunities for learning.


pERFORMANCE AND Gathering Space

We will have a space to conduct classroom and school performances as well as continue to enjoy our long and loved tradition of our school wide morning sing.