Your kids will want to come to school day after day. And when they leave, they’ll be prepared to take on the world as active learners and citizens.
Toddler through Prekindergarten
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A wonderful opportunity to introduce toddlers and younger children to the joys of school and the world beyond family. Our youngest students engage in hands-on, play-based exploration and cooperative learning activities both inside and outdoors through our early childhood development education program. Our most foundational tenets: respect, sharing, building relationships and self-expression start here. To minimize anxiety and maximize success, our hands-on school program is designed to help our toddlers gain confidence and independence. Routines, consistency and our stellar, supportive teachers help students feel safe and known in their new surroundings. In our Toddler program, parents drop off their children as students when they are developmentally ready.
TCS is also proud to offer a unique parent education component to support our families during this critical period of child development. Parent education meetings happen during class time and start when students are ready for some separation. Discussions and occasional guest speakers cover wide ranging, relevant topics like growth, development, parenting strategies, potty training, positive behavior reinforcement, and much more.
The Toddler Program is open to children who have reached 26 months by Sept. 1 of the year of entry. Classes meet two, three or five days a week, from 9am to 12pm.
We know children learn best by doing, so our play-based preschool classrooms are rich environments where students explore activity centers and develop emergent interests. Our program builds on the social and learning skills introduced during the toddler years. Experienced preschool teachers pay careful attention to the skills, knowledge and questions that each student brings to the classroom and explore letters, numbers, counting, music, art and writing using a variety of materials, subjects, and approaches. Our collaborative learning strategies and personalized learning plans also focus on social growth through our Integrated Social Curriculum. Children learn how to confidently and independently solve problems, verbalize their feelings, respect themselves and others, and establish social relationships.
Preschool students at The Children’s School spend their days exploring our campus, inside and out. Group or individual centers (such as sensory exploration, science investigation, art, writing, reading, cooking, dramatic play) encourage collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. Outside play periods are generally unstructured with children free to choose from engaging, age-appropriate activities including tricycling, digging in the sand, tire swinging, sliding, climbing, and water play. Full-day preschool students have a scheduled nap time in the afternoon of approximately 1 1/2 hours. Children who do not nap may do quiet activities.
Preschool classes are open to children who have reached their third birthday by Dec. 1 of the year of entry and are toilet trained. Classes meet two, three or five days a week, from 9am to 12pm for half-day students, and from 9am to 3pm for full-day students. Preschool morning drop off begins at 8:30am for both programs.
Our Prekindergarten Program continues to foster children’s learning and readies them for the adventure of kindergarten. We focus on offering greater age-appropriate responsibilities and challenges while continuing to support student learning through a hands-on, interdisciplinary curriculum. Personalized learning takes place through group projects, activity centers and one-to-one interactions with the teacher. We believe in setting individualized goals, identified for each student by their teacher, and differentiating learning.
Students continue to explore the classroom and expansive campus and grounds. They’re now ready to attend specialty classes in Spanish, library, physical education, art and music. A 45-minute rest period, called peaceful time, offers a break from all the fun and learning.
Prekindergarten classes are open to students who have reached their fourth birthday by Sept. 1 of the year of entry.
Classes are Monday through-Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The Children’s School’s elementary program offers students a broad, deep, and engaging experience with an evolving, integrated curriculum. Blending best practices with emergent elements makes for a vibrant learning community, driven by exceptional teachers and engaged students.
We offer a rich, project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum because children learn best when they are actively involved in their own learning. Concepts and skills are introduced and reinforced using hands-on strategies that encourage collaboration and build understanding of connections between subjects and students. We’re excited to continue to lead in offering abundant opportunities for themed projects in each grade rooted in collaboration and critical thinking. It makes learning more fun, meaningful, and relevant.
At The Children’s School, we develop compassionate and confident learners. Class sizes are small by design. Teachers focus and support growth by setting individualized goals and differentiating learning. Assessments are deep and informative with feedback focused on reflection. By developing internal motivation and fostering a love of learning, our unique elementary program helps students work towards mastery, self-driven exploration and a pursuit of their developing interests.
Successful people are well-rounded, curious, and eager to engage the world around them. A trusted and tested framework for social and emotional learning helps students begin to resolve conflicts, empathize and work with people and groups, and thoughtfully learn from and navigate identities, perspectives, and beliefs different than their own. Service learning is integrated into even our youngest scholars’ experience, whether cleaning up the local beach or participating in food drives.
We also know some of the most powerful moments of personal growth can’t be planned for. Whether an informal conversation in the hall, something brought up by current events or a topic in class or the student-driven conversations that emerge in advisory morning meeting, every student has the chance to be known, heard, and to grow as social citizens in a safe, loving environment.
A school is a living community. We create opportunities for students to gather in groups large and small and to work across grade levels. Advisories give students a chance to connect with one another and weekly all-school meetings showcase and celebrate what students are learning. As students grow with us, they take on greater school-wide roles and responsibilities. Older elementary students relish these mentoring younger students through our Learning Buddies programs and taking on more ownership over their learning as they move through elementary school.
Our experiential approach means our campus is just the start of our school. Ask a student and you’ll hear about our Great Artists program, trips to missions and Astrocamp, and the much loved suburban/urban/rural environmental tour. Nearby La Jolla beach acts not just as a service opportunity but an extended art studio and science lab where students sketch the shores and study the tide pools. The world is our classroom, and there’s no limit to where our students’ interests take our learning.
The goal of our Middle School Program is to instill in every adolescent an enduring intellectual passion, confidence, and social responsibility. Hands-on, individualized learning and a sense of belonging help students feel engaged and ensure they reach their full potential, all while preparing them for success in high school and beyond. Opportunities abound for supported risk taking and an exploration of new and emerging interests and abilities.
Dynamic, committed teachers guide students through an intellectually rigorous, modern academic program while supporting social and emotional growth. Accountability and collaboration are fostered inside and outside the classroom. Citizenship and scholarship meet as our middle school students grow into their identities with the support of a school designed for their success.
Progressive traditions meet a modern education in our comprehensive, inquiry-based, rigorous middle school program. Integrated, cross-discipline approaches builds meaning, support the shift from concrete to abstract thinking, and develop students’ ability to understand multiple perspectives. It is not only more exciting for students but mirrors the interconnectedness they’ll experience in the real world. Perseverance, critical thinking, creative problem solving, curiosity, and collaboration are hallmarks of what our students take from their time here.
Through small classes, differentiation, individualized attention, progressive traditions, and exceptional teaching, we meet students where they’re at and develop appropriately challenging, engaging work that sets them up for success now and in all future learning. While our students are prepared for standardized testing, our model prioritizes demonstrating knowledge and understanding through culminating projects and presentations. Written narratives help students and parents understand points of strength and opportunities for continued growth. Conferences, including student-led portfolio presentations, offer an opportunity for face-to-face sharing, collaborating, and celebration.
Middle School is a time of immense change and growth, and we work to foster self confidence, relationships, leadership, accountability and community. Whether in the classroom or the hallway, before school or during class, we make time and space for the conversations that shape social and emotional development.
Students learn best when they are known and valued. Small classes and a tight-knit community are just the start. Every middle school student is part of an advisory, who serves as an advocate your child can trust. Our advisory program, from student meetings to student-parent-teacher communication and partnerships, creates a more personalized school environment and provides the structure and practices for championing students’ progress. Middle school students feel at home here.
Our middle school students have ways to develop creativity, discover new interests, and grow as individuals. Elective classes include art, music, musical theater, film and photography, photo editing, drama, theater, cooking and more. From robotics to History Day to Science Fairs, student-driven efforts are a testament to the engaging coursework and support received from teachers. The chance to take on greater responsibility is integral to shaping future leaders, so our middle school students lead their morning advisory meetings and run our all school community meeting on Fridays
Field trips and an expansive definition of campus take learning outside the classroom. Students also embark on ambitious independent study through personal learning projects (PLP) to further passions and interests. Working under the guidance of an advisor, a broad range of personal learning has emerged ranging from writing and publishing a book to learning a new language. When taking a chance and being wholly oneself is not just supported but celebrated, students come to middle school eager to learn and leave ready to take on high school, higher ed, and the world.
The arts help students express themselves and interpret the world around them. Fostering imagination, encouraging the understanding of multiple perspective, aiding critical thinking and planning skills and developing self-confidence through sharing works publicly are all known benefits of regular art classes. Music classes enhance coordination and concentration, build a sense of accountability mastery through practicing an instrument and improve spatial-temporal reasoning, which in turn enhances a student’s experience in mathematics and science.
Art classes are fully integrated into our school-wide academic curriculum including our signature art program, Great Artists. Interdisciplinary projects include using visual arts, music and performance to help students understand what they are learning and to communicate this new knowledge to others. Students learn hands-on skills from talented, enthusiastic teachers. For further exploration of the performing arts, students have the opportunity to participate in our after school enrichment dance and movement classes taught by Lorna Diamond, director of The Dance Academy at The Children’s School.
Our Spanish program helps students attain language and cultural proficiency. In the Elementary grades, students practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. This is done through activities that include storytelling, art, songs, drama, games, and cooking. Students also explore Hispanic culture through stories, food, and celebration of holidays.
In Middle School, students continue learning to interact meaningfully with others and develop practical communication skills in Spanish using an integrated text and technology language program. Acquiring language and cultural appreciation includes exposure to the art, music, literature, and perspective of the Spanish speaking world. Driven by individual learning styles and pace, our program prepares students for placement into a Level Two or higher high school program.
The Children’s School Library is committed to encouraging a love of and appreciation for reading. We believe in having a space students can come to enjoy, choosing books based on their needs and interests.
We continuously work to update the Library Collection—through dedicated Library Funds, the Annual Book Fair, and our Gift Book Donation Fund which enables you to purchase a book for the library in honor of a special person or event. We also have a Parenting Resource Collection, so parents and siblings can check out books too.
Visit the World Book Online database
Check out the San Diego Public Library Research Databases
As we educate the first generations of digital natives, we’re thoughtfully designing a program that strives for both competence and responsibility. The powerful tools that expand learning beyond our classrooms include shared labs and laptops in the younger grades and a 1:1 laptop program starting in 4th grade that rolls over to a laptop students keep throughout middle school and after graduation.
We integrate critical skills and tools into core curriculum and focus on how to build, design and create content (digital art, graphic design, programming, movie-making, editing and 3D CAD just for starts) across disciplines. Digital literacy and healthy tech use includes responsibly exploring online resources, maintaining safety and privacy, smart collaboration with others and ethical online behavior.
Regular physical activity provides benefits to the body, mind, and character. Our Toddler and Preschool students are given numerous outside play periods. Beginning in Prekindergarten and running through Eighth Grade, students participate in regular physical education classes. Taught by experienced physical educators, we focus on developing spatial awareness, balance, and rhythm while experiencing the joy and confidence of learning new individual and motor skills.
All the while, we work on building self confidence and a sense of responsibility, honesty, and fairness. Our students learn to cooperate, empathize, learn the joy of movement, and develop appropriate physical risk-taking and self-control skills. Students are given opportunities to experience success and encouraged to enjoy the thrill of competition, acknowledge the ability of others and to win and lose graciously.
In addition to our physical education classes, our students have the chance to play individual and team sports. TCS has several outdoor learning spaces where students can run, climb, play and explore, including playgrounds, the blacktop, the tree house, and the Kelly Family Field. The Dance Academy at The Children’s School offers students a variety of dance classes from Toddlers through adult.