As the outgoing Head of The Children s School, I m proud to say that hundreds of students have been well served by the school, evidenced by the stories they ve shared with us year after year. The school has a committed, talented, dedicated faculty who work tirelessly to meet the needs of all of their students. Classrooms are stimulating, exciting learning environments that other schools and teachers work to model. The Children s School is authentically diverse in a myriad of ways. It is diverse geographically. It is diverse culturally and ethnically. It is diverse socio-economically. And it serves a diverse group of learners who graduate with confidence, poised to succeed both academically and socially. All organizations experience change. The Children s School is well prepared and solidly ready for new leadership. It is an exciting time for the school and as I leave, I celebrate all of its many successes.
May 30, 2012
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
I have 4 girls at TCS, youngest in K, oldest in 6, and my son graduated to go on to Westminster, where he started in 7th grade (The Children's School stops at 6th grade currently). We love TCS. It really does a unique job of fostering confidence and empathy in children. The teacher's respect and love the kids, and guide them in developing that same outlook, resulting in a community where each child gets to be their own unique self. That then allows kids to learn and grow happily. The focus on play and learning-by-doing encourages curiosity and seems effective: the kids here are for the most part happy, kind, well rounded, respectful, and prepared when they graduate. The outdoor education program (camping trips starting in 3rd grade) has been a great experience for my kids. As far as outcomes, my best data point is that my TCS grad has done well at Westminster, especially in math, social studies and science.
Some nuts and bolts: the school starts in pre-primary ( 3 year olds), goes through 6th grade, is across from Piedmont park in midtown (with a crosswalk to the park), has a good afterschool program with lots of enrichment activities, is transitioning from Everyday Mathematics to Singapore Math, and teaches Spanish as its foreign language.
No HW through Kindergarten (except for 2 projects, both of which my kids have completed on their own without tears). Love it!
1st grade on there is "daily" HW in reading, writing and math, with more projects and more involved assignments as they get older. Usually anything that will take more than 15 minutes (total) is assigned early enough that my children can schedule working on it can be planned around other demands on time.
First Grade!!!! This year is crucial, and all 4 teachers at TCS are amazing. They are dedicated, experienced (amazingly so), loving educators. You couldn't do better. They will absolutely get each kid ready to tackle more "serious" academics without draining the love for school, learning, or killing curiosity.
The school is focused on letting children be children as an integral part of early childhood education. The amount of challenge each kid needs is different. The emphasis is more on providing a safe environment for creativity curiosity and creativity. Instead of trying to teach recovery and bouncing back from failure, I''d say they keep kids engaged by keeping them mostly unaware of "failures." I think it is a positive aspect of the school.
I can’t imagine a better gift I could give my children than to offer them the opportunity to learn and grow at The Children’s School. TCS is not only a school but also a community. Over dinner recently, a friend asked how we picked it four years ago. My list went on and on: diverse students and families; emphasis on the whole child; embedded focus on building character and values; dedicated, happy, talented, committed teachers; customized instruction for various learning levels; reasonable, high impact homework; responsive, accessible school leaders; engaging TCS University parenting education; leadership and mentor/mentee programs through Big/Little Buddies; prioritized learning through play with plenty of recess; open, bright, flexible, collaborative classrooms; small classes and great teacher/student ratios; spotlight on outdoor education and self-responsibility; strong project-based, multi-disciplinary, hands-on learning initiatives; commitment to teacher professional development; access to technology resources; focus on learning over teaching. After attending a panel presentation and conducting my own research to see how TCS graduates were prepared for middle school, I concluded that without question, TCS had provided the core academics, problem-solving, social skills, and resiliency to prepare its alumni with thriving minds, hearts, and hands no matter where they chose to go afterward. Like that old quote about what is important to give children, TCS surely does it, providing children with both roots and wings.
We have loved the Children's School because they teach to each individual child's strengths and weaknesses while still letting the kids be kids. The teaching is very play based so the kids are learning, but in a way that is fun and not just rote memorization. Both of our kids are excited to go to school each morning because school is fun to them. And we cannot say enough about the teachers who not only are teaching our kids academics but also how to be responsible, proactive members of the community. The warm environment the teachers, staff, and other students provide helped both of our kids transition to the Children's School seamlessly and have made our family feel like we have been a part of this community for years instead of just a few months.
There is really no way to express how much I cherish the experience our son, who is three years old and in a pre-primary class, is getting from this school. At his age the focus is on play-based teaching and learning by doing rather than by simply listening. The kids spend over 90 minutes outside each day, and that time is divided between various activities such as planting seeds in the organic garden, playing on one of the multiple playgrounds, building blocks or playing with trucks outside...the list goes on and on. Our son has been in school since August, and in this short period of time his vocabulary has expanded tremendously and he is gaining confidence in himself and who he is. The school environment focuses on embracing individuality, so there is no dress code or rules in place about length of hair, rather it's about being who you are and being the best version of yourself that you can be. There is a big buddy program where the kids in the fifth grade help and guide kids pre-primary classes, which has been invaluable to our son.
The school ranges from pre-primary until sixth grade and I spend a lot of time volunteering there, so I've had a firsthand look at how the school and the classes run and I can only be thankful that our son is lucky enough to attend this school. I grew up attending a very highly rated public school in the Midwest, however my experience is nothing in comparison to the amazing opportunities afforded the children attending TCS. If you take a tour of the school, I really think you will be enchsnted with the campus, the administration, and most of all the teachers at TCS.
I wrote a LONG review of The Children's School and its wonderful teachers. It's somewhere in the Internet abyss. Our child is starting a third year with TCS and absolutely LOVES school. TCS does a lot of things extremely well and it shows on the kids. We have been most impressed by the teachers -- the people that have the day to day interactions with our child. Many of the teachers have been with TCS for 10+ years and have fine-tuned the art of educating young kids. There are also some excited newbies on campus who infuse the place with new innovations. We've been really happy with the way the teachers can balance class needs -- being firm and nurturing, allowing a child to be the center of attention and also a contributing part of the group, teaching the tried and true academics and character-education. On top of it all, the teachers we've had are super creative and organized. They have truly been partners in maintaining the joy our child has for learning!
So far, all we can say is "wow". TCS has been amazing for our children. We have twins who enrolled in Kindergarten and are now in first grade. Children's has lived up to - and in many ways exceeded - our expectations in every way. Our children are challenged, inspired and very much cared for. The teachers really know our girls as individuals - and at a level that is surprising. We wanted a school environment that would instill a deep love of learning in our children. One that challenged them academically and creatively. One that inspired confidence to try new things and not be afraid to take a risk. One that exposed them to different cultures and perspectives. And one that provided a well-rounded education, with the opportunity to pursue developing passions. For our family, Children's is it. We feel really lucky to be a part of this community.