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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, progressive education.
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 world.
  • To give each child the attention this effort requires, our class sizes are small, with two full-time teachers in every classroom.
    Our average classroom student:teacher ratio is 1:9; including specialists, our faculty:teacher ratio is 1:4.
    The educational program at the Atrium helps children to become invested in their learning and to value and trust in themselves as learners.
  • 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 approach.
    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 connections.
    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 academic growth.
    Students develop strategies that nourish their intellectual, emotional, social, and physical self-confidence.
    With these tools, children are inspired and prepared to take risks in order to achieve higher levels of thinking and learning.
    Our 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.
  • From Pre-Kindergarten 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 stewardship.
  • We provide powerful contexts to engage each individual.
    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.
    Auburn Cemetery.
  • 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.
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