Learners, Leaders, & Collaborators

Challenging Academics Embedded Within a Nurturing Environment

Teaching and Learning During COVID-19

Academics
Overview

At TCS, our age 3 – grade 8 students experience nurture and challenge, independence and community – all at the same time. Our innovative curriculum delivered by expert teachers uses immersive play- and project-based learning to engage students and connect them to the world around them so they can see the relevance and impact of their learning. At TCS, learning is hands-on, minds-on, and all heart.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed our learning philosophy. We’ve created teaching and learning plans that respond to the pandemic and prioritize health and safety while acknowledging who we are at our core – a nurturing, joyful community that challenges our students and fosters a deep love of learning for all ages. 

By the time our students graduate, they are highly skilled, confident, compassionate, community-minded global citizens who are well equipped to lead successful lives and make a positive difference in the world.

Age 3-5

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At TCS, three-, four- and five-year-olds become active participants in learning and building community. Through play, our youngest students explore and make sense of their world, examine language, articulate their thinking, practice handwriting, gain basic math skills, learn to navigate the social world, develop strong spatial skills and begin to experiment with creative problem-solving.

With a student to teacher ratio ranging from 4:1 to 5:1 in our 3’s/4’s classrooms and 10:1 to 11:1 in our 4’s/5’s classrooms, our youngest learners receive individualized attention from expert teachers. They enjoy art, music and movement, Chinese (Mandarin), story-time with a dedicated teacher-librarian, and much more. They especially love the relationships they build with their big buddies – older students with whom they regularly play and learn, and who mentor and model good behavior and citizenship.

Curriculum

Math

In our Early Learning program (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s), students are encouraged to explore their spatial world, play with blocks, build things and explore patterns and properties of objects, all of which builds the foundation for numeracy. Then, they’re introduced to pre-number concepts such as counting with one-to-one correspondence, sorting, and patterns, through play. 

Kindergarten through seventh grade students use “Math in Focus” (Singapore Math), and “CPM Mathematics” in the Upper School. The combination of these two programs provide a seamless trajectory aimed at high school readiness, and it meets or exceeds all Curriculum Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 

“Math in Focus” concentrates on problem solving to facilitate math learning. Concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real-world, hands-on experiences. The Singapore program solidly builds the foundational concepts that will best prepare students for higher math. The continuation with CPM Mathematics takes the strong foundation of “Math in Focus” and continues the math trajectory into the more abstract courses of pre-algebra, algebra, and for those students on a more advanced path, a high-school level geometry course. This style of learning stimulates clarity of thought, communication skill in the language of mathematics, and adaptability to problem solving.

Broad topic categories for grade levels include: numeration, operations and relations, data collection and analysis, geometry, measures and reference frames, money, and patterns, rules and functions. The program has built-in extensions and flexibility that allow it to be tailored to the needs of students of every ability.

Language Arts

The language arts program includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. In the Lower School, teachers implement a balanced approach to teaching reading that incorporates language experience, guided reading strategies, phonics and multi-sensory approaches to language. These increase student involvement and motivate further exploration and growth. In upper grades, children are exposed to a reading workshop approach that includes a variety of nonfiction and reference materials, as well as works of fiction. Skills, strategies and literary techniques are taught within the context of the reading program across all grade levels.

Writing occurs daily in the classrooms through labeling, dictation, journal writing, research reports and learning logs. Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop approach is used in grades K – 8. Students work through all the phases of writing, from brainstorming to producing a final draft. Grammar instruction takes place within the context of reading, writing and speaking.

Kindergarten and first grades use the “Sounds and Letters for Readers and Spellers” series, as well as other materials to build children’s spelling success, which includes inventive and phonetic spelling as a natural phase of developing formal spelling and literacy skills. The spelling program is based on phonemic awareness. Students learn and practice rules for spelling the sounds that make up the English language. In grades two and three, teachers draw from “Rebecca Sitton’s Sourcebook for Teaching Spelling and Word Skills” and “Words Their Way”, both of which are research-based instructional models, as well as other materials with which teachers can target instruction based on students’ needs and development. For students in grades 4 through 8, spelling instruction is embedded into Writer’s Workshop.

Science

Teachers introduce science through exploration of the natural and physical world. Older and younger students are encouraged to solve problems using process skills that include observation, classification, record-keeping, making hypotheses, experimentation, consideration of variables and drawing conclusions. The program uses a hands-on, investigative approach that is correlated to the developmental needs of students and is designed to help students gain concept and topic knowledge and science skills as they progress. At each grade level, students study topics from life, earth and space and physical sciences. Science is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units to support students understanding that science is an important framework to help them understand the world around them.

Social Studies

The overall goals of the social studies program are to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for responsible and effective participation in all aspects of a global society; to improve students’ abilities to make intelligent and socially responsible decisions and to assist in developing informed attitudes toward controversial issues.

Six themes are stressed: cultural studies, history, civics, geography, economics and science, technology and society. In each of these areas, there is an expanding progression of topics, moving from self, family, and home to world issues and cultures.

The instructional program provides for children’s active involvement in their learning process. Social studies is interactive with other areas of the curriculum and encourages taking learning beyond the classroom, including community service projects. Social studies is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units.

Outdoor Education

The pandemic has limited our field trips and overnight trips, but not our commitment to our Outdoor Education program. We are lucky to have a 2.6-acre campus that is located across from Piedmont Park, both of which provide numerous opportunities to explore and learn from our natural surroundings.

When not limited by the pandemic, our students in grades 3 – 8 become immersed in Georgia’s great outdoors on fall or spring multi-night, overnight camping trips. Our eighth graders enjoy a capstone trip to Puerto Rico.

Teachers integrate each trip into grade-level curricula through classroom study and on-site activities. The trips are planned and sequenced so that over a four-year period students can develop skills and competencies in camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking as well as familiarity with the ecology of mountains, barrier islands, cypress swamps, and rivers. Students in grades four through seven participate in an additional one-night, cabin-based trip focused on environmental learning activities.

As part of their project-based learning units, each class goes on multiple field trips to local venues each year. These include performances, museums, parks and education centers throughout the Atlanta area. Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of the myriad cultural, environmental and historical opportunities that abound.  The purpose of the field experiences is to connect learning and school to the broader community in which we live.

STEAM and Digital Literacy

Children are born scientists and artists. Picture a young child at a high chair experimenting with gravity acting on a spoon and finger painting with applesauce. As adults, each of us also integrates aspects of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in our everyday activities. Throughout their day and also in their STEAM classes, TCS students of all ages do the same. They build and reflect on their innate problem solving, creativity and analytical thinking skills, so that as the challenges they face become more difficult, they have both the tools and the resilience they need to meet those challenges.

As part of our digital literacy progression, students at all levels use mobile devices and technology tools in one-to-one and classroom learning centers to facilitate group and individual projects. In kindergarten, students begin their formal instruction in the computer/design/innovation studio to enhance the skills they’ll need in technology-infused classrooms and to strengthen their individual technology literacy. At all grade levels, students work with age-appropriate  educational software. By the time they graduate, students have engaged in all of the differing aspects of what it means to be truly digitally literate, including staying safe and navigating the increasingly complex world of online media and relationships, a wide variety of digital content creation, as well as computational thinking, basic coding, and robotics.and.

TCS students begin working with classroom sets of iPads in early learning. Students in first through eighth  grades are issued iPads, Chromebooks or MacBooks early in the school year to use both in class and, when appropriate, at home to  support anytime/anywhere learning.

The practice of good digital citizenship – students  using technology safely and responsibly – falls within the context of our larger community citizenship expectations. Please refer to the school’s statement on behavioral expectations which outlines our community’s Code of Conduct.

World Language

World language specialists teach Chinese two-to-three days per week to students in Early Learning (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s) – grade 3, and Spanish twice a week in grades 4 – 8.

Our three primary goals are to teach language(s) as a core competency, rather than an ancillary element of our children’s education, to help our children to attain a higher level of language proficiency/fluency  while developing cultural competencies and global awareness, and to offer our children a foundation in both Spanish and Chinese, the two most widely spoken languages of communication in the world today. 

 

Library

The library program focuses on literature appreciation and information literacy skills. The librarian works closely with classroom teachers to incorporate classroom studies into the program.

The pandemic has limited access to the library. Instead of visiting the library once a week, our librarian visits classrooms with a carefully curated selection of grade-level appropriate books that students can checkout for the week. 

Visual Arts

At all levels, the visual arts program gives children meaningful, enjoyable experiences with art, teaches them elements of composition, and exposes them to a variety of media like pastels, paint, clay, printmaking and others.

Children progress from exploratory experiences toward growing expertise with a variety of media and studies of significant artists. Children meet with the art specialist weekly. Projects range from free use of imagination to structured activities.

Music

The Children’s School uses an eclectic approach to music instruction. This approach affords the opportunity for students to sing, dance, play instruments, listen, compose, and express themselves musically.

Students age 3 – grade five enjoy music within their classrooms and meet with a music specialist once a week. Students in grades 6 – 8 may choose between general music with a vocal or instrumental focus meeting two or three times a week.

As a part of our COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, our choral groups are on pause. Once it’s safe to resume, students in grades 2 – 4 can participate in TCS Voices and grades 5 – 8 have the opportunity to participate in TCS Voices Show Ensemble.

Physical Education

Students age 3 – grade 8 meet with a physical education specialist twice a week. Within the physical education program, students develop habits of fitness and wellness, experiment with creative movement and develop leisure and sports skills.

Character Education

From its inception, The Children’s School has focused on character development and education. We work to create an environment that inspires and promotes moral development. The Building Character and Community (BCC) Program, seeks to develop students’ personal and social integrity, teach peaceful conflict resolution, anger and temper management skills, and treating others fairly.

Immersive Project-Based Learning

At TCS, we use immersive project-based learning to embed big ideas, skills and academic subjects within an integrated, problem-based approach. When used together, these allow for a complete and nuanced understanding of the project and problems students are investigating.

Take a look at TCS project-based learning in action!

Learning Support

The primary function of the Resource Program at The Children’s School is to offer support to families, children and teachers to maximize students’ academic success. The Resource Team collaborates closely with classroom teachers to identify individual learning needs and differentiate instruction with enrichment approaches, academic strategies, accommodations and interventions.

When students demonstrate a need for additional academic support, the Resource Team administers classroom observations and standardized assessments to identify appropriate next steps and determine the need for auxiliary services. It is generally upon the recommendation of the classroom teachers that the Resource Program initiates testing; however, parents may reach out and must request and authorize support services.

The Resource Program also offers academic support for math and language arts so children can gain the skills and confidence they need to thrive. Math support employs a consultative model delivered in the classroom, and language arts support is delivered in the Learning Lab through small group remedial instruction that uses an Orton-Gillingham informed approach.

Please note that The Children’s School does not offer on-site diagnostic testing. When teachers and parents agree that assessment may be beneficial, the resource director and administration will recommend professionals who have educational testing expertise. The resource director also provides referrals to specialists and tutors. Please contact Michelle Toma-Harrold, director of resource services, with questions at 404-835-4628 or michelleth@tcsatl.org.

Grades K-5

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From developing math skills through real-world projects to building and programming their own robots, our play- and project-based approach to learning gives our elementary students opportunities to explore real-world challenges, learn essential 21st century skills like communication and collaboration and make their voices heard.

We take learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Through partnerships with  our Midtown neighbors or by simply crossing the street to Piedmont Park, our elementary students learn not just to observe, but also to become truly engaged citizens of the world.

Finally, our student-to-teacher ratios in our elementary grades – 10:1 to 12:1 – allow TCS teachers to develop close relationships with their students so they feel known, understood, believed in, and challenged to be their best.

Curriculum

Math

In our Early Learning program (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s), students are encouraged to explore their spatial world, play with blocks, build things and explore patterns and properties of objects, all of which builds the foundation for numeracy. Then, they’re introduced to pre-number concepts such as counting with one-to-one correspondence, sorting, and patterns, through play. 

Kindergarten through seventh grade students use “Math in Focus” (Singapore Math), and “CPM Mathematics” in the Upper School. The combination of these two programs provide a seamless trajectory aimed at high school readiness, and it meets or exceeds all Curriculum Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 

“Math in Focus” concentrates on problem solving to facilitate math learning. Concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real-world, hands-on experiences. The Singapore program solidly builds the foundational concepts that will best prepare students for higher math. The continuation with CPM Mathematics takes the strong foundation of “Math in Focus” and continues the math trajectory into the more abstract courses of pre-algebra, algebra, and for those students on a more advanced path, a high-school level geometry course. This style of learning stimulates clarity of thought, communication skill in the language of mathematics, and adaptability to problem solving.

Broad topic categories for grade levels include: numeration, operations and relations, data collection and analysis, geometry, measures and reference frames, money, and patterns, rules and functions. The program has built-in extensions and flexibility that allow it to be tailored to the needs of students of every ability.

Language Arts

The language arts program includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. In the Lower School, teachers implement a balanced approach to teaching reading that incorporates language experience, guided reading strategies, phonics and multi-sensory approaches to language. These increase student involvement and motivate further exploration and growth. In upper grades, children are exposed to a reading workshop approach that includes a variety of nonfiction and reference materials, as well as works of fiction. Skills, strategies and literary techniques are taught within the context of the reading program across all grade levels.

Writing occurs daily in the classrooms through labeling, dictation, journal writing, research reports and learning logs. Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop approach is used in grades K – 8. Students work through all the phases of writing, from brainstorming to producing a final draft. Grammar instruction takes place within the context of reading, writing and speaking.

Kindergarten and first grades use the “Sounds and Letters for Readers and Spellers” series, as well as other materials to build children’s spelling success, which includes inventive and phonetic spelling as a natural phase of developing formal spelling and literacy skills. The spelling program is based on phonemic awareness. Students learn and practice rules for spelling the sounds that make up the English language. In grades two and three, teachers draw from “Rebecca Sitton’s Sourcebook for Teaching Spelling and Word Skills” and “Words Their Way”, both of which are research-based instructional models, as well as other materials with which teachers can target instruction based on students’ needs and development. For students in grades 4 through 8, spelling instruction is embedded into Writer’s Workshop.

Science

Teachers introduce science through exploration of the natural and physical world. Older and younger students are encouraged to solve problems using process skills that include observation, classification, record-keeping, making hypotheses, experimentation, consideration of variables and drawing conclusions. The program uses a hands-on, investigative approach that is correlated to the developmental needs of students and is designed to help students gain concept and topic knowledge and science skills as they progress. At each grade level, students study topics from life, earth and space and physical sciences. Science is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units to support students understanding that science is an important framework to help them understand the world around them.

Social Studies

The overall goals of the social studies program are to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for responsible and effective participation in all aspects of a global society; to improve students’ abilities to make intelligent and socially responsible decisions and to assist in developing informed attitudes toward controversial issues.

Six themes are stressed: cultural studies, history, civics, geography, economics and science, technology and society. In each of these areas, there is an expanding progression of topics, moving from self, family, and home to world issues and cultures.

The instructional program provides for children’s active involvement in their learning process. Social studies is interactive with other areas of the curriculum and encourages taking learning beyond the classroom, including community service projects. Social studies is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units.

Outdoor Education

The pandemic has limited our field trips and overnight trips, but not our commitment to our Outdoor Education program. We are lucky to have a 2.6-acre campus that is located across from Piedmont Park, both of which provide numerous opportunities to explore and learn from our natural surroundings.

When not limited by the pandemic, our students in grades 3 – 8 become immersed in Georgia’s great outdoors on fall or spring multi-night, overnight camping trips. Our eighth graders enjoy a capstone trip to Puerto Rico.

Teachers integrate each trip into grade-level curricula through classroom study and on-site activities. The trips are planned and sequenced so that over a four-year period students can develop skills and competencies in camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking as well as familiarity with the ecology of mountains, barrier islands, cypress swamps, and rivers. Students in grades four through seven participate in an additional one-night, cabin-based trip focused on environmental learning activities.

As part of their project-based learning units, each class goes on multiple field trips to local venues each year. These include performances, museums, parks and education centers throughout the Atlanta area. Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of the myriad cultural, environmental and historical opportunities that abound.  The purpose of the field experiences is to connect learning and school to the broader community in which we live.

STEAM and Digital Literacy

Children are born scientists and artists. Picture a young child at a high chair experimenting with gravity acting on a spoon and finger painting with applesauce. As adults, each of us also integrates aspects of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in our everyday activities. Throughout their day and also in their STEAM classes, TCS students of all ages do the same. They build and reflect on their innate problem solving, creativity and analytical thinking skills, so that as the challenges they face become more difficult, they have both the tools and the resilience they need to meet those challenges.

As part of our digital literacy progression, students at all levels use mobile devices and technology tools in one-to-one and classroom learning centers to facilitate group and individual projects. In kindergarten, students begin their formal instruction in the computer/design/innovation studio to enhance the skills they’ll need in technology-infused classrooms and to strengthen their individual technology literacy. At all grade levels, students work with age-appropriate  educational software. By the time they graduate, students have engaged in all of the differing aspects of what it means to be truly digitally literate, including staying safe and navigating the increasingly complex world of online media and relationships, a wide variety of digital content creation, as well as computational thinking, basic coding, and robotics.and.

TCS students begin working with classroom sets of iPads in early learning. Students in first through eighth  grades are issued iPads, Chromebooks or MacBooks early in the school year to use both in class and, when appropriate, at home to  support anytime/anywhere learning.

The practice of good digital citizenship – students  using technology safely and responsibly – falls within the context of our larger community citizenship expectations. Please refer to the school’s statement on behavioral expectations which outlines our community’s Code of Conduct.

World Language

World language specialists teach Chinese two-to-three days per week to students in Early Learning (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s) – grade 3, and Spanish twice a week in grades 4 – 8.

Our three primary goals are to teach language(s) as a core competency, rather than an ancillary element of our children’s education, to help our children to attain a higher level of language proficiency/fluency  while developing cultural competencies and global awareness, and to offer our children a foundation in both Spanish and Chinese, the two most widely spoken languages of communication in the world today. 

 

Library

The library program focuses on literature appreciation and information literacy skills. The librarian works closely with classroom teachers to incorporate classroom studies into the program.

The pandemic has limited access to the library. Instead of visiting the library once a week, our librarian visits classrooms with a carefully curated selection of grade-level appropriate books that students can checkout for the week. 

Visual Arts

At all levels, the visual arts program gives children meaningful, enjoyable experiences with art, teaches them elements of composition, and exposes them to a variety of media like pastels, paint, clay, printmaking and others.

Children progress from exploratory experiences toward growing expertise with a variety of media and studies of significant artists. Children meet with the art specialist weekly. Projects range from free use of imagination to structured activities.

Music

The Children’s School uses an eclectic approach to music instruction. This approach affords the opportunity for students to sing, dance, play instruments, listen, compose, and express themselves musically.

Students age 3 – grade five enjoy music within their classrooms and meet with a music specialist once a week. Students in grades 6 – 8 may choose between general music with a vocal or instrumental focus meeting two or three times a week.

As a part of our COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, our choral groups are on pause. Once it’s safe to resume, students in grades 2 – 4 can participate in TCS Voices and grades 5 – 8 have the opportunity to participate in TCS Voices Show Ensemble.

Physical Education

Students age 3 – grade 8 meet with a physical education specialist twice a week. Within the physical education program, students develop habits of fitness and wellness, experiment with creative movement and develop leisure and sports skills.

Character Education

From its inception, The Children’s School has focused on character development and education. We work to create an environment that inspires and promotes moral development. The Building Character and Community (BCC) Program, seeks to develop students’ personal and social integrity, teach peaceful conflict resolution, anger and temper management skills, and treating others fairly.

Immersive Project-Based Learning

At TCS, we use immersive project-based learning to embed big ideas, skills and academic subjects within an integrated, problem-based approach. When used together, these allow for a complete and nuanced understanding of the project and problems students are investigating.

Take a look at TCS project-based learning in action!

Grades 6-8

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The middle school years are a time of transition and vulnerability. The journey to adulthood is not yet complete, so TCS honors the emerging adult and the child who remains by building on the joy, wonder and curiosity of this age while also developing the skills and knowledge needed for teens to succeed in high school and beyond.

Our Middle Grades students grapple with big ideas, forge community connections, and explore the question of who they are in this world – distinct from friends, family and teachers. The curriculum is grounded in well-respected national standards that articulate expectations for content mastery, critical thinking, and applied learning.

Students develop deep understandings in social studies, science, math and writing, and apply that knowledge to hands-on, community-based problem solving, which allows them to:

  • Develop strong academic skills from faculty who are experts in their subjects
  • Understand how academics answer important questions about their world
  • Establish the advocacy and communication skills to add their unique voice, perspective and contributions to the local and national dialogue about issues like social justice, equity and sustainability.

Curriculum

Math

In our Early Learning program (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s), students are encouraged to explore their spatial world, play with blocks, build things and explore patterns and properties of objects, all of which builds the foundation for numeracy. Then, they’re introduced to pre-number concepts such as counting with one-to-one correspondence, sorting, and patterns, through play. 

Kindergarten through seventh grade students use “Math in Focus” (Singapore Math), and “CPM Mathematics” in the Upper School. The combination of these two programs provide a seamless trajectory aimed at high school readiness, and it meets or exceeds all Curriculum Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 

“Math in Focus” concentrates on problem solving to facilitate math learning. Concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real-world, hands-on experiences. The Singapore program solidly builds the foundational concepts that will best prepare students for higher math. The continuation with CPM Mathematics takes the strong foundation of “Math in Focus” and continues the math trajectory into the more abstract courses of pre-algebra, algebra, and for those students on a more advanced path, a high-school level geometry course. This style of learning stimulates clarity of thought, communication skill in the language of mathematics, and adaptability to problem solving.

Broad topic categories for grade levels include: numeration, operations and relations, data collection and analysis, geometry, measures and reference frames, money, and patterns, rules and functions. The program has built-in extensions and flexibility that allow it to be tailored to the needs of students of every ability.

Language Arts

The language arts program includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. In the Lower School, teachers implement a balanced approach to teaching reading that incorporates language experience, guided reading strategies, phonics and multi-sensory approaches to language. These increase student involvement and motivate further exploration and growth. In upper grades, children are exposed to a reading workshop approach that includes a variety of nonfiction and reference materials, as well as works of fiction. Skills, strategies and literary techniques are taught within the context of the reading program across all grade levels.

Writing occurs daily in the classrooms through labeling, dictation, journal writing, research reports and learning logs. Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop approach is used in grades K – 8. Students work through all the phases of writing, from brainstorming to producing a final draft. Grammar instruction takes place within the context of reading, writing and speaking.

Kindergarten and first grades use the “Sounds and Letters for Readers and Spellers” series, as well as other materials to build children’s spelling success, which includes inventive and phonetic spelling as a natural phase of developing formal spelling and literacy skills. The spelling program is based on phonemic awareness. Students learn and practice rules for spelling the sounds that make up the English language. In grades two and three, teachers draw from “Rebecca Sitton’s Sourcebook for Teaching Spelling and Word Skills” and “Words Their Way”, both of which are research-based instructional models, as well as other materials with which teachers can target instruction based on students’ needs and development. For students in grades 4 through 8, spelling instruction is embedded into Writer’s Workshop.

Science

Teachers introduce science through exploration of the natural and physical world. Older and younger students are encouraged to solve problems using process skills that include observation, classification, record-keeping, making hypotheses, experimentation, consideration of variables and drawing conclusions. The program uses a hands-on, investigative approach that is correlated to the developmental needs of students and is designed to help students gain concept and topic knowledge and science skills as they progress. At each grade level, students study topics from life, earth and space and physical sciences. Science is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units to support students understanding that science is an important framework to help them understand the world around them.

Social Studies

The overall goals of the social studies program are to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for responsible and effective participation in all aspects of a global society; to improve students’ abilities to make intelligent and socially responsible decisions and to assist in developing informed attitudes toward controversial issues.

Six themes are stressed: cultural studies, history, civics, geography, economics and science, technology and society. In each of these areas, there is an expanding progression of topics, moving from self, family, and home to world issues and cultures.

The instructional program provides for children’s active involvement in their learning process. Social studies is interactive with other areas of the curriculum and encourages taking learning beyond the classroom, including community service projects. Social studies is most often integrated with other subjects within the project-based learning units.

Outdoor Education

The pandemic has limited our field trips and overnight trips, but not our commitment to our Outdoor Education program. We are lucky to have a 2.6-acre campus that is located across from Piedmont Park, both of which provide numerous opportunities to explore and learn from our natural surroundings.

When not limited by the pandemic, our students in grades 3 – 8 become immersed in Georgia’s great outdoors on fall or spring multi-night, overnight camping trips. Our eighth graders enjoy a capstone trip to Puerto Rico.

Teachers integrate each trip into grade-level curricula through classroom study and on-site activities. The trips are planned and sequenced so that over a four-year period students can develop skills and competencies in camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking as well as familiarity with the ecology of mountains, barrier islands, cypress swamps, and rivers. Students in grades four through seven participate in an additional one-night, cabin-based trip focused on environmental learning activities.

As part of their project-based learning units, each class goes on multiple field trips to local venues each year. These include performances, museums, parks and education centers throughout the Atlanta area. Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of the myriad cultural, environmental and historical opportunities that abound.  The purpose of the field experiences is to connect learning and school to the broader community in which we live.

STEAM and Digital Literacy

Children are born scientists and artists. Picture a young child at a high chair experimenting with gravity acting on a spoon and finger painting with applesauce. As adults, each of us also integrates aspects of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in our everyday activities. Throughout their day and also in their STEAM classes, TCS students of all ages do the same. They build and reflect on their innate problem solving, creativity and analytical thinking skills, so that as the challenges they face become more difficult, they have both the tools and the resilience they need to meet those challenges.

As part of our digital literacy progression, students at all levels use mobile devices and technology tools in one-to-one and classroom learning centers to facilitate group and individual projects. In kindergarten, students begin their formal instruction in the computer/design/innovation studio to enhance the skills they’ll need in technology-infused classrooms and to strengthen their individual technology literacy. At all grade levels, students work with age-appropriate  educational software. By the time they graduate, students have engaged in all of the differing aspects of what it means to be truly digitally literate, including staying safe and navigating the increasingly complex world of online media and relationships, a wide variety of digital content creation, as well as computational thinking, basic coding, and robotics.and.

TCS students begin working with classroom sets of iPads in early learning. Students in first through eighth  grades are issued iPads, Chromebooks or MacBooks early in the school year to use both in class and, when appropriate, at home to  support anytime/anywhere learning.

The practice of good digital citizenship – students  using technology safely and responsibly – falls within the context of our larger community citizenship expectations. Please refer to the school’s statement on behavioral expectations which outlines our community’s Code of Conduct.

World Language

World language specialists teach Chinese two-to-three days per week to students in Early Learning (3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s) – grade 3, and Spanish twice a week in grades 4 – 8.

Our three primary goals are to teach language(s) as a core competency, rather than an ancillary element of our children’s education, to help our children to attain a higher level of language proficiency/fluency  while developing cultural competencies and global awareness, and to offer our children a foundation in both Spanish and Chinese, the two most widely spoken languages of communication in the world today. 

 

Library

The library program focuses on literature appreciation and information literacy skills. The librarian works closely with classroom teachers to incorporate classroom studies into the program.

The pandemic has limited access to the library. Instead of visiting the library once a week, our librarian visits classrooms with a carefully curated selection of grade-level appropriate books that students can checkout for the week. 

Visual Arts

At all levels, the visual arts program gives children meaningful, enjoyable experiences with art, teaches them elements of composition, and exposes them to a variety of media like pastels, paint, clay, printmaking and others.

Children progress from exploratory experiences toward growing expertise with a variety of media and studies of significant artists. Children meet with the art specialist weekly. Projects range from free use of imagination to structured activities.

Music

The Children’s School uses an eclectic approach to music instruction. This approach affords the opportunity for students to sing, dance, play instruments, listen, compose, and express themselves musically.

Students age 3 – grade five enjoy music within their classrooms and meet with a music specialist once a week. Students in grades 6 – 8 may choose between general music with a vocal or instrumental focus meeting two or three times a week.

As a part of our COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, our choral groups are on pause. Once it’s safe to resume, students in grades 2 – 4 can participate in TCS Voices and grades 5 – 8 have the opportunity to participate in TCS Voices Show Ensemble.

Physical Education

Students age 3 – grade 8 meet with a physical education specialist twice a week. Within the physical education program, students develop habits of fitness and wellness, experiment with creative movement and develop leisure and sports skills.

Transitioning to High School

Counseling our eighth graders in their next steps after The Children’s School is an integral part of our educational process.  The same skillsets and mindsets TCS works hard to foster in students both in and out of the classroom everyday also serve our students well in the high school counseling process, and ultimately, their chosen high schools. 

We work closely with students and their families to help them discover, research, and select  their unique, right-match school. Mock interviews, practice essays, and SSAT classes prepare our students to move through the application process with confidence and poise. Our approach is highly individualized and is based on students’ specific talents, needs and interests as well as parents’ educational goals and a shared understanding of schools that will further students’  intellectual, physical, and social development. Our approach also recognizes the value of collaboration and includes close partnership with the director of student life and high school counseling, assistant head for academics and upper school director, our head of school, the eighth grade teaching team, and the director of enrollment management to advocate for each student during the admission process.

Our graduates are sought after by schools across Atlanta and beyond and have excellent public school options as well. We have developed strong ties with all of our receiving high schools, and these schools value how  TCS has prepared our students to meet the demands of their next educational environments. Our students are accepted to and thrive in a range of schools- public and private, single-sex and co-ed, and day and boarding schools.

Our Outcomes

Graduates of The Children’s School are compassionate, community-minded global citizens who value diversity in its many forms. They are confident young people who are strong, adaptive learners and go on to excel at other schools.

Our graduates attend a variety of different schools throughout the Atlanta area and beyond including – Atlanta Girls School, Atlanta International School, The Galloway School, Grady High School, Lakeside High School, Mount Vernon School, The New School, The Lovett School, Pace Academy, Paideia School, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, The Westminster Schools, and Woodward Academy.

Our students get administrative and faculty support preparing for the high school application and transition process. TCS students develop experience writing essays, interviewing, and evaluating potential schools, skills that are necessary for high school, college, and professional careers.

Our graduates are passion-driven young adults who lead lives of empathy and purpose in an interconnected world. 

Immersive Project-Based Learning

At TCS, we use immersive project-based learning to embed big ideas, skills and academic subjects within an integrated, problem-based approach. When used together, these allow for a complete and nuanced understanding of the project and problems students are investigating.

Take a look at TCS project-based learning in action!

Learning Support

The primary function of the Resource Program at The Children’s School is to offer support to families, children and teachers to maximize students’ academic success. The Resource Team collaborates closely with classroom teachers to identify individual learning needs and differentiate instruction with enrichment approaches, academic strategies, accommodations and interventions.

When students demonstrate a need for additional academic support, the Resource Team administers classroom observations and standardized assessments to identify appropriate next steps and determine the need for auxiliary services. It is generally upon the recommendation of the classroom teachers that the Resource Program initiates testing; however, parents may reach out and must request and authorize support services.

The Resource Program also offers academic support for math and language arts so children can gain the skills and confidence they need to thrive. Math support employs a consultative model delivered in the classroom, and language arts support is delivered in the Learning Lab through small group remedial instruction that uses an Orton-Gillingham informed approach.

Please note that The Children’s School does not offer on-site diagnostic testing. When teachers and parents agree that assessment may be beneficial, the resource director and administration will recommend professionals who have educational testing expertise. The resource director also provides referrals to specialists and tutors. Please contact Michelle Toma-Harrold, director of resource services, with questions at 404-835-4628 or michelleth@tcsatl.org.

Extended Day Program

The Extended Day program provides after-school activities in visual, performing and exploratory arts; sports and environmental studies for elementary and middle grades students from The Children’s School and the broader Atlanta community. It’s divided into the following four program areas: Discovery/EPIC, Enrichment, Day School Electives, and TCS Athletics.

Click here for more information about Extended Day and Summer Learning at TCS.