The TKG Way


The Knowing Garden Elementary School offers a collaborative and interactive approach to education. Our teacher and parent community empowers individuals to love learning, cultivate relationships, embrace nature and engage with the world as innovators and catalysts.

How Learning Comes to Life at The Knowing Garden:

Our classroom is open and emergent. Our students are encouraged to express themselves. Every student spends time analyzing, integrating, and applying concepts to real-life learning opportunities. Our day allows for time dedicated to conflict resolution, community meetings, extensive writing and integrated studies/project-based experiences.

– Our learning environments have been carefully thought out because we know that the design, aesthetics, flow and materials within a physical space affects the possibilities for meaningful collaboration and deep learning. We are inspired by the Reggio Emilia theory that “environment is the third teacher.” Learn more about Reggio Emilia, here.

–Each teacher is considered a researcher who documents student interactions in order to uncover their interests. From there, our teacher-researchers build lesson plans that build upon these interests.   Every student keeps a portfolio of work to showcase their individual growth. Presentation of concepts and hypotheses in multiple forms of representation — print, art, construction, drama, music and play — are viewed as essential to children’s understanding of experience.

– We use the Common Core Standards as a touchstone for learning. We do not participate in state standardized testing. We observe and use a variety of assessments to understand  developing competencies and offer parents a real-time assessment of their child’s strengths and goals. Weekly newsletters provide current information on classroom events and school business.

We provide opportunities for students to continue the learning at home with Home Practice. We strive to redefine the concept of homework by assuring it is developmentally appropriate, meaningful and individualized for the student. Due to our commitment to working with students and families, we look for ways for parents and students to connect to student learning goals and create home practice opportunities that keep learning joyful and relevant..

– Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development.  Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. There is high emphasis on the collaboration among home, school and community to support the learning of the child.

– Every student participates in Reading, Writing and Math. Additionally, students are exposed to Science, Engineering, History, Social Studies, Storytelling, Music, Performing and Creative Art, Environmental studies, Humane Education, World Cultures and Physical activity all facilitated or coordinated by credentialed teachers and specialists.

– Our students learn through the experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing.  Projects may last a few days to several months or the entire school year. Our teachers work alongside children.  Our teachers are coaches, resources and guides lending expertise to children but they recognize that they are learners too. Our teachers listen to, learn with and know their students.

-We encourage students to be critical thinkers around real world concepts. Therefore, we value the opportunity to engage in critical conversations around topics related to gender, race, class and religion. The goal of such conversations is not for the adults to impart morals or values, but to support the students in grappling with complex issues in our world.  Every effort will be made by the adults to keep their own opinions neutral in order to encourage a bias-free environment.

-We are committed to the idea that every child has the right to freedom, autonomy and choice. In order to participate in a community, these rights are balanced with responsibilities. We are both a community of learners and a group of individuals. We put many supports in place to work in partnership with students to meet individual needs while maintaining their connection to our community.

– Our Classroom meets outdoors one day each week.  This is designed to connect our students to nature and address the nature deficit facing our students and community.

– Role of the Parent: Active participation is an important component to the experience at TKG.  Our families are pro-actively involved in their student(s) academic/physical/social emotional curriculum, community meetings, celebrations and events. Communication is open between parents and teachers.  Parents are encouraged to communicate with teachers directly and model the communication skills we are nurturing in our students.



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