The Knowing Garden FAQs
What makes TKG different:
- Individual needs are balanced within a community.
- The learner-centered environment supports freedom for children to practice and test out their new skills.
- Social-emotional development is understood and celebrated. There is space for mistakes, feelings are practiced, and resolving conflict is supported.
- We believe outdoor play in nature makes people whole and teaches us to protect the earth. Extended outdoor play happens often.
- We support a non-judgmental approach that allows people to experience life for him/herself/themselves, with guidance, not control. This supports developing an authentic sense of self and an acceptance of others’ differences.
- Family Participation supports a connection and care for all of the people of our community.
- We support an ongoing connection to our philosophy – for teachers, parents, and community – through literature, meetings, workshops, and continuing education.
Q: Is TKG a charter school?
TKG is a not-for-profit private school. When we organized in 2010, we researched incorporating as a charter but quickly decided that jumping through the public education hoops for funding was not going to work.
Q: Can we tour, in person?
A: Part of our application process is to invite the student to visit for a two-hour visit. We encourage you to drop off your student and give them space to engage on their own. Due to Covid, we are restricting the number of people in the space but, parents are welcome to stay close by and observe as well as ask questions and meet to discuss pending questions when the student comes for the visit.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Our home base is at 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach – at Temple Menorah. We are not affiliated with the temple or Tuvia, the preschool. Currently, we are in an outdoor/forest school mode at a public park in the southbay. We are not able to share the location to protect student privacy but if you apply and visit, you’ll get to see how it works.
Q: When should I apply? What does my tuition cover?
A: We enroll students ages 5-10, currently – on rolling admission. In order to lock September 2021 classrooms, we will need confirmation of enrollment by the end of May. Apply now!
We believe our educational environment should be the norm but until then, we must each make the commitment and sacrifice to support schools like TKG. Tuition is very low compared to typical private schools. Approximately half of our operating budget goes to the instructional program (compared to the NAIS* average of 43%). Our income categories include Tuition/Fees (82%) with donations and fundraising making up the rest. Families are asked to make up the gap (announced at the beginning of the school year) of tuition to the operating cost per student with a donation. At our tuition scale, TKG’s safe, nurturing, and whole-person education is a great value!
Q: When does school start? What is the schedule? How many students in the class?
A: We offering rolling admission, so start is fluid. Officially, the first day of school is 8 September of 2021. Summer programming will start on June 29th.
The current, outdoor school schedule is Monday -Thursday, 9-1 (in-person) with Friday set as a custom schedule per pod (online). Regular class enrollment will be up to 12 students and up to 2 adults determined by student enrollment and needs. Our covid plan has more details, please have a look.
Q: Are you a co-op school? What level of parent participation is expected from families?
A: We welcome parent involvement because it means there are more helping hands and it builds community. We expect that families will attend monthly meetings and celebrations. We require a few community workdays throughout the year. A need-based co-op tuition option is available and we take consideration of different family styles and needs. If you would like to participate in the co-op model, we ask that you submit documentation via our SSS Financial Aid portal on our “Tuition and Financial Facts” page on the website. The co-op hours are determined by each family’s experience. If a family does not complete their work hours, tuition will not be reduced. Due to COVID, hours are not currently available but there are still many ways to help.
Q: Are students separated into different classes by ages?
A: Students older than 5 are in mixed-age classrooms based on their developmental readiness.
Q: How much time do children spend outside?
A: We’re an outdoor school! Students are thriving outside of the box! Pre-covid (seems like ages ago), students would spend 3-6 hours outdoors. Every day, students were outdoors and moving every 45 minutes or as needed.
Q: How is your curriculum planned? Are you Reggio? Waldorf? Montessori?
A: Our curriculum is learner-centered and facilitated by the teacher. We combine curricula and theory that includes: project-based learning, Reading/Writing Workshop, and common core math but teachers have the freedom to adapt for their students while guided by our learning trajectories. Reggio inspires our environment. Waldorf inspires our connection to outdoor. Montessori inspires our hands-on learning. We have a strong emphasis on social-emotional growth with empowering, positive communication strategies.
Q: What are your closed dates?
A: We follow the Redondo Beach Unified School District holiday schedule. Additional closed dates may include Triangle conferences, field trips, and non-holiday closures. All foreseeable closure dates are scheduled by September and subject to change.
Q: How do you handle conflicts between the children?
A: We believe that conflict is an opportunity for growth. Teachers and staff will be there to support any feelings and when the participants are ready, problems are solved together. Our philosophy is non-judgemental so we do not label children as victims or aggressors. We believe that behavior is expressing a need and we do our best with children and their families to balance need and safety.
Q: What forms of communication are there between the Teachers and the parents?
A: Teachers have weekly office hours and are they are willing to make additional time for meetings with you. There are three 45-minute triangle (student, parent, teacher) conferences throughout the year. We use the Brightwheel app to share news, report incidents, and keep in touch with you. We use email to share information and we send regular newsletters/updates to keep you informed and educated.
Q: When it is time, will my child be able to transfer to a typical environment?
A: TKG alumni have transitioned to different paths of education, from homeschool to private school. Our alumni families have reported that students make smooth transitions to the academic environment and that they are empowered to use their voice, ask questions, and have confidence. This translates to jumping in, assessing the necessary adjustments, and thriving in a new space, relatively quickly. Our alum have reported transitioning to grading and typical environmental pressures with ease, crediting TKG’s culture of empowerment and empathy with building resilience, participation, and communication skills.
*NAIS is the National Association of Independent Schools