José Martí Child Development Center

High quality dual-language early learning education for children ages 1-5

“It is for the children that we work, for they are the ones who know how to love, for they are the hope of the world.” ~José Martí (1853-1895)

The José Martí Child Development Center is community-based program that serves children ages 15 months to 5 years old. Our bilingual, bicultural curriculum emphasizes cultural diversity, social justice and family involvement in order to develop children’s self-awareness, cultural pride, and self-esteem, which is combined with age-appropriate developmental activities in the four domain areas of development (cognitive, social/emotional, physical and language) to adequately prepare children for kindergarten. JMCDC was founded in 1972 with the inception of El Centro de la Raza.

The José Martí Child Development Center has two locations with several other sites opening over the next few years. The main location is on Beacon Hill inside our historic schoolhouse building and the adjacent Plaza Roberto Maestas facility. Our satellite location is in the International District on the ground floor of Hirabayashi Place. We have a site opening in September 2022 in the Roosevelt Neighborhood. Please keep reading to learn more about each individual site. If you are interested in joining the waitlist for any of our sites, please see how below.


José Martí Child Development Center @ El Centro de la Raza (2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144) and Plaza Roberto Maestas Beacon Hill (2576 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144). Dual-language English/Spanish instruction. Click here for rates and more information.

José Martí Child Development Center @ Hirabayashi Place lnternational District (424 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104). Dual-language instruction in English/Spanish or English/Mandarin. Click here for rates and more information.

José Martí Child Development Center @ Cedar-Crossing (1015 NE 67th ST, Seattle, WA 98115). Dual language English/Spanish instruction. Click here for rates and more information.

To join the childcare waitlist, please send an email to Jessica at with the complete information listed below:

1. Child’s first and last name
2. Child’s date of birth
3. Parent/guardian’s first and last name
4. Phone number
5. Preferred language
6. Email address
7. The site you are interested in (El Centro de la Raza’s historic building, Plaza Roberto Maestas, Hirabayashi Place, or Cedar Crossing)
8. If you will pay for tuition privately, through DSHS or City of Seattle Childcare Assistance
9. Your ideal start date
10. How you heard about us
11. Any other comments you’d like to share

The JMCDC curriculum is comprised of four main components: Creative Curriculum 5th edition, Soy Bilingüe curriculum, themes of the month, and social justice and community involvement.

The José Martí Child Development Centers on both Beacon Hill and at Hirabayashi Place have been rated as high quality Centers of Excellence through Early Achievers. Early Achievers is Washington’s quality rating and improvement system and provides a common set of expectations and standards to define and measure the quality of early learning settings. The Early Achievers Quality Standards promote and support comprehensive facility quality and help ensure that quality practices are having direct impact on individual children’s progress. This achievement is largely due to our caring and experienced staff, who maintain high quality instruction and classroom environments; all staff also regularly participates in ongoing professional development and health and safety trainings.

Our concept of language acquisition emphasizes learning in the context of daily life rather than through formal lessons. Our program is conducted in both Spanish and English, as well as English and Mandarin at Hirabayashi, on a daily basis, and our bilingual staff ensures that the customs and traditions of the Latino and Asian communities are reflected in the classrooms and curriculum, as well as the cultures of all students in the classroom. Using a pluralistic approach, we strive to promote and strengthen each child’s first language and culture while supporting the development of their second language and instilling an understanding and appreciation for diversity; all languages, cultures and traditions are validated. This bicultural programming fosters growth and development in a culturally-sensitive environment.

Our bilingual programming is based on elements of the Soy Bilingüe curriculum, which supports the development of both Spanish and English, or Mandarin and English, and provides strategies for small and large group time. We utilize strategies such as TPR (total physical response), where translation is not required and dual-language development is achieved using props, actions, gestures, motions, songs, poems and/or demonstrations. Other vital components include: unconditional love for all children, respect for cultural diversity, the cultivation of expression and creativity, family collaboration, a commitment to fairness and undoing bias, a child-centered and socially oriented approach, documentation and accountability to learning, and specialized skills in first and second language and literacy development. Each classroom utilizes these strategies to create their own learning plan to meet the needs of their individual students.

Dual language development is further supported through our themes of the month, which outline goals and vocabulary in both languages and are supplemented with relevant cultural and community events to provide authentic and valuable experiences. We also utilize our themes of the month to incorporate important values, as well as social justice and community involvement activities. The children are taught to appreciate and respect diversity by participating in each other’s cultures, which is achieved by incorporating different national celebrations, holidays, festivals, events and cooking into our daily curriculum. We are able to incorporate many guests and artists into our scheduled activities because our program is sponsored by El Centro de la Raza. These community events are introduced at the children’s level and expose the children to dance, music, art and civil rights activities. Involving our children in these activities teaches them that they have a responsibility to something larger than just themselves. Involvement in community-based activities creates respect for others and fosters in our children a sense of “unity within diversity.”

Through the research-based Creative Curriculum, we emphasize learning in the four main areas of development: cognitive, social/emotional, physical and language. We implement age-appropriate activities, which stimulate each child’s innate curiosity and desire to learn, and we support each child’s specific developmental needs through Individual Learning Plans. We evaluate the children’s development and progress using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and the Teaching Strategies Gold assessment. TSG tracks children’s progress in 38 goals and objectives across the four main areas of development plus five content areas (literacy, math, science & technology, social studies, and the arts), as well as second language acquisition. This is all with goal for children to acquire the skills they will need to be successful in kindergarten in beyond.

Lastly, JMCDC utilizes only positive guidance and discipline policies, and we provide supports for any children with special needs. We work with families on the referral process or to connect with any other resources they may need.