My daughter went to Little School for three years, ages 2-5, and now that she has just finished kindergarten we feel better equipped to assess our experience, which was very positive. The director is just brilliant about child development and about teaching. The teachers are caring and incredibly thoughtful. The place is a little hive of activity (it won't appeal to those looking for sterile, rigid environments or academic force-feeding), and somehow, each child and family feels cherished. Our daughter thrived there, and went on to rock a private kindergarten which we would not have found without Little School. We are, may I add, a middle class, lesbian family, so we were on quite a bit of financial aid. The school supported us every step of the way with diversity issues, changes in our family finances, and various parenting dilemmas. We miss you, Little School!
My daughter is a bit cautious and doesn't jump right into new social situations as easily as some kids. The school had various events prior to the start of the school year to get the kids acclimated. They even allowed the parents to hang out at the back of the class the first few days or weeks of school. (The duration depends on the child's needs.) The teachers kept their eye out on her to encourage her to step beyond her comfort zone but without pushing her too much. Fast forward the 3 months later and we have a different child. The teachers really helped her to blossom and explore her creativity. They genuinely care for the kids and love to share milestones and successes whenever I see them. Highly recommend this school if the part-time program works for you.
This place, albeit imperfect, is about as sweet and good as it gets for a developmentally based school. Dedicated teachers, many of them long-tenured (rare for pre-schools) work with kids in a relationship-based developmental approach. Decent diversity for a private school, both in terms of race/ethnicity, but also in terms of family structure (a number of single parents by choice and LGBT families). It's also one of the few schools who chooses to purposefully enroll kids with special needs (full inclusion approach) with non-special needs kids. The results is a much broader range than you typically see, and teachers whose expertise is richly applied to all students. Class size is smaller with 2-3 teachers per class. The pre-K program, called TK, is outstanding. Now that our son has moved on to the K-8 world, I only wish that most elementary schools had the type of thoughtfulness evident at The Little School.
Our mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at
school, at home and in their community. We are a national non-profit with offices and programs
in Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.