The Knowing Garden FAQs
What makes TKG different and what that means for children, parents, and community:
- 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: Where are you located?
A: We are at 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach – in Temple Menorah. We are not affiliated with the temple or Tuvia, the preschool.
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 2020 classrooms, we will need confirmation of enrollment by the end of March. 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: 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, dinners, and celebrations. We require a few community workdays throughout the year. A need-based co-op tuition option is available. 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.
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: Over the course of the week, students spend 3-6 hours outdoors at Wilderness Park. Every day, students are 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 communication strategies from Parent Effectiveness Training, Echo Parenting, and Hand in Hand Parenting.
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 make time to support any feelings and when the participants are ready, problems will be 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 may not have the equivalent quantity of academic content but that they are empowered to use their voice, ask questions, and have confidence. This translates to jumping in, getting up to speed, and thriving in a new space, relatively quickly. Our alum have reported transitioning to grading and typical environmental pressures with ease, crediting TKG’s ownership of self environment with building resilience, curiosity, and communication skills.
*NAIS is the National Association of Independent Schools