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GreatSchools Rating

The Little School

Private | PK-4 | 160 students

We are best known for child centered teaching.

 

Living in Bellevue

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $528,700. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,390.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 4 ratings
2013:
Based on 6 ratings
2012:
Based on 1 rating
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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School Official Point of View

Posted 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

41 reviews of this school


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Posted April 24, 2014

The Little School, 2812 - 116 Avenue NE Bellevue,WA.98004. The Little School is a great place for a child to learn and grow It has a well rounded curriculum which life skills, art and nature and the environment. I am so happy to that my grandchild attends this school.


Posted March 7, 2014

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 7, 2014

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 10, 2014

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 2, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 23, 2013

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!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 18, 2013

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!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 29, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 22, 2013

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.


Posted February 8, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 6, 2012

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 11, 2011

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!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 27, 2011

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 19, 2010

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 25, 2010

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 26, 2010

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?
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 27, 2010

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 28, 2009

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 16, 2009

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 17, 2009

My child went to TLS for the upper grade levels (though there are no grades per se) after a frustrating public school experience. How refreshing to find 'the most awesome school on the planet' according to my daughter. Her love of learning was revived. The small class sizes enabled her to receive individualized attention from her teachers and the woods/campus are breathtaking and foster an appreciation for nature. My child made great friends. She is excited about her next school but she misses TLS so much.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 82% 60%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 8% 7%
Two or more races 6% 6%
Hispanic 3% 20%
Black 2% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Dance teacher(s)
Gardening teacher(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Reading specialist(s)
School social worker/counselors(s)
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Staff resources available to students
  • Gardening teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab
Clubs
  • Gardening

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Arts (all)
  • Music
  • Visual arts
Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Instrumental music lessons

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Kitchen
Clubs
  • Gardening

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Accelerated credit learning
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Peter Berner-Hays
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NAEYC
  • NAIS
Fax number
  • (425) 827-3814

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Accelerated credit learning
  • Progressive, child-centered, emergent
  • Reggio Emilia
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Arts (all)
  • Environmental
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Science
  • Social justice
  • Visual arts
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • School social worker/counselors(s)
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Playground
School leaders can update this information here.

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School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • Movement program for all kids
Girls sports
  • Movement program for all kids

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing arts
  • None
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Gardening
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Children learn best when their individual needs, skills and interests drive their learning. Our responsive instructional approach challenges students to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally with a developmentally appropriate framework. The Little School is a model for child-centered education that responds to individual developmental time tables and learning styles, nurtures the development of the whole child, and preserves and supports children’s natural sense of wonder and
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?


8 out of 10students were accepted for the 2012-2013 school year.


Students accepted for the 2012-2013 school year
50
Applications received for the 2012-2013 school year
60

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$17000 - $18000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Eastside Prep
University Prep
Bellevue Public Schools
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

2812 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Website: Click here
Phone: (425) 827-8708

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