Teaching & Learning
At The Little School, we take childhood seriously. We follow a progressive education approach to engage children in their learning. The school serves students ages 3-11 in classrooms that are set up to best meet the students' developmental needs and abilities, which often means we have multi-age classrooms. In structuring our program, we typically talk about three different levels:
- Early Childhood (ages 3-5)
- Primary (ages 5-8)
- Intermediate (ages 8-11)
This framework allows us to speak in general terms about our program. However, at The Little School, we know each student and respect every individual's developmental needs and abilities in determining classroom placement as well as the best approach to a child's personal growth.
Because our faculty approach teaching as both a science and an art, knowing when to guide the learning and when to step back for a student-directed experience, school and learning feels like play, which is truly the important work of childhood. Subjects are taught holistically, combining literacy, science, math, social studies, art, Spanish, music, outdoor education and social-emotional learning as appropriate to provide authentic learning opportunities for our students. At times, one of our early childhood classrooms may be set up for imaginary play as a veterinarian office. This may be supplemented by books about a variety of animals and their habitats, supplies to create art along this theme, animal-shaped math manipulatives to practice sorting, and Spanish songs or activities to learn that perro means dog and caballo means horse. A similar approach can be seen in our primary and intermediate classrooms as well, though adjusted in a developmentally appropriate way to meet the needs of the older students.
In addition to the student learning that happens across our campus, our teachers and teaching assistants are continually working on their professional development as well. Faculty meet regularly in cross-level Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) to create continuity across the levels, and our faculty meet by level and by pod (classroom pair) to share ideas and resources, discuss trends and find opportunities for collaboration and community connection.
"The TLS commitment to encouraging each child’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning is why we are committed to TLS."
– Erik & Tina K., Alum Parents