New private middle school opens in Redmond

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman

This fall, families on the Eastside will have another option for middle school. The founder of Bellevue Children’s Academy is opening Willows Preparatory School in Redmond, which will welcome about 100 fifth through eighth graders when classes start on Sept. 2.

Founder Yuka Shimizu and Headmaster Francisco Grijalva say Willows Prep’s international curriculum, small class sizes, and diverse student body will be big draws for the school. There are still five openings to attend the school this year.
Willows Prep’s eventual goal is to offer the middle school International Baccalaureate (IB) program, but it will take two to three years to implement that curriculum, Grijalva said. Until then, Willows Prep will use the curriculum from Bellevue Children’s Academy (BCA), which Shimizu developed for her own kids.

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The Benefits of Reading to Children


One of the greatest investments a parent, relative or caregiver can make in the lives of children is to take the time to read to them. So often we get caught up in the frenzy of daily tasks, work, calls, emails, chores, and even in the personal indulgence of the many forms of social media.

With these distractions we need to remember to create the time for simple pleasures and to slow down the pace in order to focus completely on our children. Reading to children shows them they are significant and deserve our uninterrupted attention.

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Adventures of a single parent: Yurts revisited

  • Written by Julie Boselly

When I asked my son what he wanted to do this summer, he chose yurt camping. It has been six years since our first attempt at “camping” two-kids-plus-one-mommy-style. We yurt camped at Tolt MacDonald in Carnation in 2008 when the kids were ages 7 and 3. This time we stayed close to home again, but headed north about 45 minutes. Destination: Kayak Point. New: Bring friends!

We drive to Kayak Point often. It has a fabulous playground and a beautiful beach to look for rocks, shells and wildlife. Visitors can camp, day camp, hike, golf nearby, boat, fish and go crabbing.

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Garden Project: Make a Bean Tepee


Are you looking for a fun activity to do with your child? A bean tepee is a magical place you can create easily for your children — and they can help make it! You can water the plants together during the next weeks and watch the tepee grow green and sprout tasty snacks. It will become a special hideaway for your child and a great way to get them excited about playing outside.

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Get your Teens in the Kitchen this Summer at 21 Acres

  • Written by Submitted by 21 Acres

Are you looking for something fun for your teenager to do this summer? In addition to hanging with their friends, encourage them to learn some new life skills and register them for a cooking class at 21 Acres. Get them ready to help lend a hand in the kitchen on those busy weekday evenings once school starts again in fall. The “Cultivating Cooks” series of classes are offered on five Tuesday evenings in the 21 Acres Kitchen throughout the months of June, July and August from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and are geared for teens ages 12 through 19.

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