Parenting Education

Whatcom Community College Parenting Education Program & Affiliated Cooperative Preschools

Member of the Organization of Parenting Education Programs in Washington State (OPEP)


Whatcom Community College (WCC) is affiliated with four low-cost cooperative preschools across Whatcom County. Based on the belief that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children, cooperative preschools offer an educational experience for both children and parents. Children attend preschool 2 – 4 days per week, for 2 – 4 hours per class session. WCC affiliated preschools are hands-on, play-based, and experiential, adhering to research based, developmentally appropriate practices for growing minds and bodies! Parents also work in the classroom, take on a school job, assist with fundraising and attend monthly parenting education sessions. At all WCC affiliated cooperative preschool programs, parents and children learn together!

Parenting Education

As part of the cooperative preschool experience, Whatcom Community College offers parenting education classes to meet the changing needs of families. Parents/caregivers are enrolled in a WCC Parenting Education class when they enroll their child in preschool.

Parents/students earn 9.0 college credits per year, earning a short-term certificate of proficiency in parenting education after 18 credits (2 years of preschool enrollment). To earn credit, parents attend monthly parenting education classes taught by WCC Parenting Education Faculty, in addition to fulfilling their preschool responsibilities. Classes are typically held in the evening, in conjunction with the monthly business meeting for the preschool. Class format includes lectures, videos, discussion groups, and guest speakers on topics such as:

  • Developmental milestones
  • Children’s social and emotional development
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Discipline
  • Family communication
  • Early learning, literacy, and school readiness
  • Contemporary Issues in parenting
  • Community resources

Parenting Educators also support parents working in the classroom and work closely with the preschool teacher regarding the educational programs and needs of individual students. Supporting the preschool board in the management and operation of the preschool non-profit business and providing leadership training, instruction, and feedback regarding preschool operations are other essential functions of the WCC Parenting Educators.

Important Parenting Education Information for New & Current Preschool Families

*Please review the following information and note that ALL parents/caregivers volunteering in the cooperative preschool classroom must be 18 years or older and have on a file a completed Bellingham School District Background check and have reviewed the OPEP Safety Video and submitted the Safety Quiz to the WCC Parenting Education Facilitators prior to volunteering in the classroom. Please see the below links for more information:

To contact our WCC Parenting Education Facilitator

Laurie Schneck Saling, Email:


Learn More about WCC Parenting Education

Whatcom Community College complies with federal and state laws specifically requiring that the College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, genetic information or age in its programs and activities.

Parenting Education Resources

Parent education is an integral part of a child’s early childhood learning experience. WCC Parenting Educators are always available to provide parenting resources as needed. The following are additional recommended online resources:

Aha! Parenting, founded by Dr. Laura Markham, clinical psychologist, shares practical tips and advice for parents of every age child, from pregnancy through the teen years.

American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. &

American Psychological Association shares parenting resources and information.

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, supports scientific research that seeks to improve strategies to increase life outcomes for children facing adversity.

The Center for Children with Special Needs provides information to families and professionals focusing on children who have chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions such as asthma, cancer, autism, or cerebral palsy. The Center was formed in 1998 as a program of Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Washington State Department of Health supports the development/ maintenance of this website.

Common Sense Media is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. Common Sense Media empowers parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Department of Early Learning (DEL) strives to help create safe, healthy, nurturing learning experiences for all Washington children. Their work focuses on the earliest years in children’s homes, child care, school programs and communities. DEL offers information and resources for children’s first and most important teachers—parents—as well as others who care for and teach young children.  &

Department of Health (DOH) Immunization Home Page is designed to provide you with reliable resources to help you make informed decisions on the importance of immunizations for: children, adolescents and adults.

Love. Talk. Play: Learn why love, talk and play are important to give your child a great start in life and to get ideas for how you can add more love, talk and play into your daily routine with your child.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the nation’s largest organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of programs for children from birth through third grade.

Mind in The Making:  The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs contains research-based life skills to help children reach their fullest potential.

Parenting Counts is the research-based family of products developed by Talaris Institute to support parents and caregivers in raising socially and emotionally healthy children.

Parent Trust offers a reliable network of support, education, and leadership for families across the state of Washington.

Seattle Children’s Hospital offers safety and wellness resources for families.

Zero to Three>shares information for parents on the first three years of life from the National Zero to Three organization.

Bellingham Public Schools,

Bellingham Parks & Recreation,

Organization of Parenting Education Programs (OPEP)

Whatcom Community College,



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