Peter Berner-Hays, February 6, 2013
Hi Prospective Little School Parents, I am glad that you are taking advantage of resources such as greatschools.org. The process of finding a good school match for your child and family can be daunting and there are loads of exciting choices. Some questions you might consider as you look are: How does my child learn best? What are my child s strengths? In what ways does my child need challenge or stretching? In what ways are creativity and independence fostered in the school? Perhaps most important, can you imagine you and your child walking in to the school excited and ready to learn? As you research schools, I hope you will come and visit The Little School. We are a progressive school where you will find passionate teachers and a responsive child-centered curriculum. We are committed to acceptance, openness and inclusivity. This is a place where your child will say I can t wait to come to The Little School . We are excited about learning, teaching and about supporting the healthy happy development of children. In my third year as Head of School I am very pleased to invite you to come and check us out. Peter Berner-Hays
I cannot say enough great things about this school. My son went to The Little School from age 4 to age 11. He is now in middle school, thriving, successful, and more than adequately prepared by The Little School. Not only is he doing well in his classes, but he is a compassionate, confident, adaptable, community and service-oriented kid -- which may be unusual for typical middle schoolers, but not at all unusual for Little School alums. Careful not to be swayed by negative comments listed in the Feb 15 "The School Has An Interesting " post. Do your homework and shop around for the right school. If you do choose The Little School, there is a high probability you will love it! No really! Something like 95% of parents are highly satisfied with their experience year after year! It is a school and community like no other in the area.
The Little School is beyond outstanding. Our daughter has attended The Little School for 6 years (is now 11 years old), and we could not be happier with her education or the school's learning environment. Every teacher is incredibly strong and supportive, and the school fosters a tremendous sense of confidence, community, and caring within the students. There is meaning and purpose in the curriculum, and our daughter has learned so much - not only the basics in math, science, literature - but also about the world, environment, communities, and responsibility. The Little School encourages independent thought and discussion among students, which has led our daughter to a love of school and passion for learning. Our daughter has not wanted to miss a single day of school since she started. We could not have asked for a better foundation for our daughter's growth, education, and development. She will go on to be incredibly successful in middle school and beyond, thanks to The Little School.
This school has an interesting philosophy. They really emphasize diversity and respect of individual differences. I question how much a child actually learns here. The value for money is not here. The tuition costs breaks down to $2100 a month far more expensive than most private schools. During the course of their day for pre-k/k they have 3 forty minute recesses, naptime, and provide no snacks or lunches. Their student to teacher ratio is 1:8 but they say they cannot accomodate preschoolers with slightly greater social challenges than average. If your child has even mild special needs I'd recommend saving your application fee and look for another school who actually values and embraces diversity. This does seem,however, a great place to work. A teacher's day would consist of supervising three lengthy recess times (no organized game play), a naptime, and mealtimes with a 1:8 student ratio selecting only kids that would pose little challenge. And last but least did I mention they have no standardized curriculum or lesson plans. You may wonder what your child is actually learning at the the Little School and if they really would be prepared for higher education.
Our four children have attended The Little School for the past seven years. The primary reason we send them to TLS is for the amazing education that they receive there. Although the school s educational approach can feel different from what people often think of as traditionally academic, we have seen first-hand how the school s thoughtful, research-based approach to education helps each of our children excel. The students at TLS are not pressured to perform according to a particular standard, but rather are encouraged to explore and learn to the best of their ability in pursuit of their passions. Everyone develops at different paces and has different strengths and weaknesses, and TLS does a great job making this diversity an asset in the educational process. TLS students learn how to learn, how to put things together, how to understand language, how to think about math and numbers, how to answer their own questions, how to get along with other people, and how the physical world works. My children are intrinsically motivated and well prepared for a lifetime of learning.
We could not have found a better school than The Little School for our children s elementary education. During our initial tour of TLS we saw how engaged the kids were in each classroom and felt their excitement for learning. When our kids began at The Little School, we were welcomed warmly into the community and encouraged right from the start to be a part of our children s education. We are impressed with the academics and especially the teachers abilities to allow each child to work at his/her appropriate level. We have found that the children work at or above traditional grade level in a very supportive, encouraging environment. The school strives to build bonds between students of all levels and encourages leadership. My children love to go to school, actively seek out knowledge, and are proud of their learning. Everything from the staff, grounds, and extra programs (art, music, Spanish, library, movement, etc.) are thoughtfully put in place to form a wonderful, cohesive learning experience. It s not necessary to have standardized testing to see that the children at The Little School are capable confident learners who are well prepared for future success.
We pulled our daughter out of another private school to attend The LIttle School and we could not be more pleased. The teachers are kind and nurturing and take the time to get to know the children. The small class size help the teachers to focus more on each child and their style of learning. The campus is beautiful and well taken care of. The leader of the school is involved in every aspect of the school from directing traffic to sitting in the classes with the kids. I would highly recommend this school!
My family has been involved with The Little School for 13 years and I can t say enough about how happy we ve been with the entire school experience. My kids (one who is now in high school, the other who is in his 7th year there) are very different, and both have had amazing experiences. The academic learning and teachers are phenomenal they not only learn the skills they need to succeed in middle school and beyond, but do so in an experiential way that is meaningful and FUN! The social and emotional skills they learn everyday are essential not only for success in school and career, but also for living a productive life. They are part of a caring community and get to go to school in an incredible natural environment I don t know of any school that has such amazing outdoor space where children can run, play and learn as much in their outdoor classroom as indoors. Spanish, Art, Music, Movement and Library are great supplements to the basic program. If you want your children to jump up out of bed and head for school excited and challenged everyday, go check out TLS!
Choosing my son's first school was a daunting responsibility. We searched, we interviewed, and we retained a consultant. Choosing The Little School for our son was a fabulous decision. Our son (just turned 6) LOVES going to school. The Little School s progressive approach to education encourages students to LOVE learning for the sake of learning. The teachers take teachable moments and turn them into lessons that drive math, social studies, and science and research opportunities. This leads to trips to the library where the full time librarian assists the children in locating and utilizing research materials on the interest of the day. The Head of School and the administrative staff are actively engaged on a daily basis. The campus is amazing! Acres of outdoors, an outdoor class room, gardens and 9 (I think) playgrounds! We are thrilled with the amount and quality of specialized staff to assist in educating our son. Spanish, art, reading, library, and music and movement specialists help to provide a well rounded curriculum. The Little School had exceeded our expectations!
Our daughter began at TLS in 3rd grade and (despite being shy), she made deep friends right away and the community was very inviting to her and our family. Her peers are sweet, intelligent, funny and every day she can't wait to go to school. Her teacher knows exactly how to motivate her students, and balances providing challenging work with compassion each day. When we began, so did a new Head of School and he's made fantastic changes. He respects the students, parents and teachers more than I can express. Our daughter's comment her first week was-- "Picture children as plants. At my old school, they would force bright lights on you and dump buckets of water trying to make you grow faster. At TLS, they let you grow. THEY LET YOU GROW, Mom." You might be asking yourself, how can students graduate from here and compete with rigorous elementary schools for competitive private middle school slots. Well they do! Our daughter got into the school of her choice as did all the kids. During this year and the previous year, students got accepted to Lakeside, Overlake, U. Prep, Eastside Prep, SAAS, and many more. Middle schools love TLS kids as they can think for themselves.
I attended The Little School for seven years, and it shaped my life for the better. Most of my college friends have strong negative memories of elementary school: bullying, tests, boring recess, mean teachers. But all my memories are good. At TLS, even the class "bullies" were our friends: the teachers dealt well with kids who picked on others; no one lost self-esteem. We never took tests: we simply studied our material until we learned it, and weren't punished for learning slowly. Twice a day, at recess, we were free to exercise our imaginations on TLS's vast forest campus. My best friend and I always pretended to be horses, and we published stories about our adventures in the school library! The teachers were our friends: they talked to us as equals, and we helped develop the curriculum. My childhood at TLS was idyllic, and because my first school experience was so good, I've continued to love school and independent learning. Some worry that a TLS education isn't academically rigorous enough. Take it from a national merit finalist and University of Chicago student it s not rigor that makes academic success. It s love of learning. And love of learning is at the heart of TLS.
I d highly recommend The Little School (TLS) where our son loves attending. Their philosophy of creating a love for learning and setting kids up for success in LIFE is seen in every interaction with the teachers and staff. Teachers are empowered & LOVE their jobs, and the kids love learning through experiences. It s obvious how much the kids love going to school there & how they flourish. TLS isn t like a typical school in that they don t have set seats for each student where they are expected to sit and listen to a teacher lecture them most of the day. Instead, they have 1-2 tables in the room where kids sit with each other and experience learning through doing activities and working together, rather than being lectured. This, in my opinion, is the best way to truly learn and understand something it also dramatically increases the chances you will retain it. TLS s approach is to create a partnership between the kids and adults, not having the adult being a dominating authority figure. They teach kids how to function successfully in society & life, not just memorize information. Every touch point I have had has proven that they truly live the values they say they have.
Things we appreciate about TLS include: - The awesome teachers. - The small class sizes. - The child-directed curriculum. - The emphasis on critical thinking and research skills. - The true respect for a diversity of learning styles. - The active, involved, and at times boisterous classrooms. - The emphasis on outdoor activity. We chose TLS because it helps our children excel academically. At TLS they learn how to learn, how to put things together, how to understand language, how to think about math and numbers, how to answer their own questions, how to get along with other people, and how the physical world works. My children are intrinsically motivated and well prepared for a lifetime of learning. The school's approach can make some parents uncomfortable because it emphasizes skills that are not easy to measure. The school focuses on the fundamental skills necessary for reasoning and communicating, versus more visible, superficial skills that are easy to test and demonstrate. But I have consistently found that when one of my children is ready to pick up a demonstrable skill, he is well prepared by TLS to do so quickly and enthusiastically.
This is a fantastic school. Small class size, progressive education, excellent teachers, and a beautiful campus! Our son is thriving, learning, growing and has wonderful confidence. I would highly recommend this school to anyone who wants there children to love to learn and wants a school who cares about the whole child too!
This school would not be a good choice if your student is entering the upper grades. Most students have been together since Pre-K and have established a bond within their social group and are not good about letting new students into their social world. It's very sad on many levels because I think this could have been a good school since the school incorporates some fun learning activities, however, the social experience was extremely damaging. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed the way the teacher handled conflicts within her classroom. The new "head of school" is a great asset to the school that I know will make some necessary changes to make it a more welcoming environment for new students entering upper grades. I think this would be a great choice for the lower grades but definitely not in the upper grades especially if your child has difficult making friends.
My son just left The Little School after 7 years. I am thrilled that we stayed at the school from the time my son was 4 until he turned 11. The amazing teachers at The Little School were able to instill a love of learning and to help my son learn to be his own person. We have moved on to a public middle school and my son's grades have been great and his transition to the change in environment and academics has been very smooth. Our family will always be grateful to The Little School and the amazing teachers there.
This school was terrific socially and physically, it's in a beautiful location and the children are taught to be compassionate and kind. Academically, it was beyond poor. My child didn't suffer much in middle school as a result of the lack of academics, but only because he was already an avid reader and wrote well. I would recommend this school to parents of children who are not doing well socially in public school. Of course, this means a (small) classroom of mostly social misfits, but the teachers seem to be able to handle that aspect. If you're wealthy and can supplement your child's education with tutoring, it might also be a good choice. Otherwise, unless your child is bright, doesn't mind the lack of academic challenge, and struggles socially in public school, there are much better choices out there.
A school with heart. Teachers have a deep knowledge of child development. Rich and vibrant curriculum. Beautiful wooded campus where kids can get dirty and discover the natural world around them. A wonderful community of learners. What more could you want for your child?
Our son is in his 3rd year at The Little School. And every year it gets better. Now, there is a new principal and she is making it an even better place to grow. The teaching staff is amazing and experienced, allowing each student the ability to create their own experience. While guiding them to academic benchmarks. The Art Program here is incredible. The small school atmosphere, nestled in an amazing natural environment allows for a unique educational experience. Unbounded by mindless droning of trivial data, children are allowed to learn math, reading and writing through experiences and not lectures. Truly refreshing and engaging.
My daughter attended TLS from K-5 & is now in a highly academic & rigorous middle school program. She is excelling there in many specific ways that I credit to TLS: her natural curiosity & love of learning were nurtured & are serving her well now she's in 7th grade; she was supported in working independently on projects that required her to be self-motivated and self-regulating; & she was given many opportunities to stretch herself as a public speaker and self-starter (perceiving a need or having an interest & being allowed to run with it). As the daughter of an academic & someone with two graduate degrees who spent several years teaching undergrads, I was looking for an elementary school that would keep alive the skills necessary to succeed in higher education and real life: self-regulation, self-motivation & an intrinsic love of learning. We found that at TLS.
My daughter moved to the Little School this year, and it has completely changed her attitude toward school. She quickly developed confidence and enthusiasm toward school, which she did not have at her previous school. The staff are wonderful, class ratios are small (2 teachers for 16 students), and the other parents are friendly and welcoming.
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