José Martí Child Development Center

kids laughing

José Martí
Child Development Center

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

Our José Martí Child Development Center (JMCDC) is a 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 three locations with several other sites opening over the next few years. The main location is on Beacon Hill in our historic schoolhouse building and the adjacent Plaza Roberto Maestas facility. Our satellite locations are in the International District at Hirabayashi Place and in the Roosevelt Neighborhood at Cedar Crossing. 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 Locations

LocationAddressLanguage InstructionNotes
El Centro de la Raza2524 16th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
Dual-language English/SpanishRates and more information
Plaza Roberto Maestas
Beacon Hill
2576 16th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
Dual-language English/SpanishRates and more information
Hirabayashi Place
International District
424 S Main St
Seattle, WA 98104
Dual-language in English/Spanish or English/MandarinRates and more information
Cedar Crossing1015 NE 67th St
Seattle, WA 98115
Dual language English/SpanishRates and more information

“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 JMCDC curriculum is comprised of four main components:

  1. Creative Curriculum 5th edition
  2. Soy Bilingüe curriculum
  3. themes of the month, and
  4. 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.

Join the Childcare Waitlist

Please complete this online form; or send an email to Jessica at with the complete information listed below:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the waitlist?

The length of the waitlist varies by site and child’s age, so you will need to speak with the staff at each site to get a more accurate estimate. All sites and classes do have a waitlist, though, so in general, it won’t be possible for immediate enrollment, and most waits will be a minimum of one year or more.

We do also have some enrollment priorities including children who already have siblings enrolled in the program, participants of El Centro de la Raza’s other programs, and residents of the apartment buildings located above our centers (Plaza Roberto Maestas, Hirabayashi Place and Cedar Crossing). In addition, due to our goals of supporting diversity and maintaining 35% first language (other than English) in the classrooms, we may give priority to immigrant communities and families of color, and students who qualify for subsidy/low-income programs.

Are there only certain times of the year that you enroll kids?

We do enrollments year-round, whenever a space opens up. However, most of our openings become available each year between June through September, as our students graduating to kindergarten leave the program and other students do class-to-class transitions. For any mid-school year openings, we would generally find out about 30 days in advance before a space came available, and these are mostly dependent on if a family withdraws from the program.

Are meals included, or do we have to bring our own meals from home?

Breakfast, lunch and a snack are served each day and included in your tuition! We participate in the USDA program which provides funding for meals, so a nutritionist helps us plan healthy and nutritious meals. For any children with allergies or other dietary restrictions, we will work with families so the kitchen can make appropriate substitutions as necessary. Because of our funding through USDA, families are not allowed to bring their own food.

Is naptime required?

A rest time is offered in all classrooms and for all age groups. Children are not required to sleep, but the teachers will encourage all children to rest their bodies for at least 20-30 minutes. If children are still awake after that time, the teachers can provide quiet activities such as drawing, books, puzzles, etc. However, the teachers cannot intervene to keep children awake if they do fall asleep during the rest period.

Do you offer part time or part day care?

We are a full time program and do not offer part time or part day options. There is a set, monthly tuition for five days per week up to 10 hours per day, so it is possible to not attend every day or to attend shorter days, but there are no tuition discounts if you choose to do so.

The one exception is at the Beacon Hill site where we have one part-time class which is open from 9 am – 12 pm or 1:30 – 4:30 pm, September through June. Most of the spaces in this class are reserved for low-income students who qualify for the ECEAP program, but we have a limited amount of “private pay” spaces available each year as well.