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Notes for Prospective Students
- Our Approach at the Atrium School.
Nearly 30 years ago,
Cambridge-based educator Ginny Kahn envisioned a school where
children are nurtured, valued, and challenged: nurtured as
individual, creative learners, valued as thoughtful, constructive
members of a warm and loving community, and challenged to achieve
their fullest potential as they grow and change.
She envisioned the
Atrium School, an educational community in which we are all
encouraged to "wonder, explore, invent, imagine, develop skills,
and persevere at challenging work." Working together, Atrium
families, teachers, and friends developed the school in Watertown,
Massachusetts, where it has become a model for independent,
We are committed to:
Small classes and individual attention: Because early
educational experiences set young people on a path for life, the
Atrium carefully cultivates each child's love of learning,
confidence in his or her own ideas and abilities, respect for
others and the environment, and engagement as a citizen of the
To give each child the attention this effort requires, our
class sizes are small, with two full-time teachers in every
Our average classroom student:teacher ratio is 1:9;
including specialists, our faculty:teacher ratio is 1:4.
educational program at the Atrium helps children to become invested
in their learning and to value and trust in themselves as
Hands-on, Progressive educational model: Children learn best by
doing and applying.
At the Atrium School, direct experience in a
meaningful context is core to our educational philosophy and
Hands-on explorations enable children to discover new
information for themselves, reflect on this knowledge, integrate it
into their full spectrum of ideas, build on it, and make further
We build our approach on the established foundations
of the Progressive education model, which means that we nurture the
social development of children as much as we do their cognitive and
Students develop strategies that nourish their
intellectual, emotional, social, and physical self-confidence.
these tools, children are inspired and prepared to take risks in
order to achieve higher levels of thinking and learning.
students become good at working on teams, valuing diversity,
multi-tasking, thinking creatively and critically, and showing what
they know and understand in a myriad of powerful ways.
Innovative, rigorous academics: An emphasis on collaborative
and hands-on learning sustains a climate where students learn
critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
through 8th Grade, the Atrium curriculum provides strong
foundations mixed with flexibility, a distinctive structure
personalized to each child's own strengths.
You can read about the
atrium curriculum in detail in the Learning section of our website.
Atrium graduates attend and succeed in public and private "next
schools" throughout the Boston area.
Extraordinary Enrichment: Spanish, violin, and environmental
We provide powerful contexts to engage each
In addition to core subjects, our students in ALL
grades learn Spanish, play violin in partnership with New England
Conservatory, and study urban wildlife at the adjacent Mt.
Whole Child and welcoming community: By upholding the
principles of social justice and educational equity, the Atrium
community accepts and teaches responsibility for building a
community in which each person's voice can be heard and respected.
Children carry with them the teachings of an educational community
that encourages its members to see the common threads that run
through people's lives.
They learn to value the strength and
integrity of differences, and to affirm the rights of the
individual and the rights of others.