What ages of children can enroll in The Learning Center?
The Learning Center is for students ages 3 to 6, up to three years before entering kindergarten. A program for school age children up to age 12 is offered in the summers.
What skills does my child need to have mastered before enrolling?
We know that all children have unique experiences and develop at their own rates. No matter what skills your child has mastered, we will identify the next steps in their learning. Children do not have to be toilet trained to enroll. Friends with special needs are a welcome part of our community.
Can my child with special needs enroll?
TLC welcomes students with differing abilities into our classrooms. We believe in the benefits of inclusion for all students! We have staff members who are willing to learn about your child's individual needs (and be trained if necessary) and staff members who already have experience working with children with developmental delay, speech and language delays, autism, hypotonia, type 1 diabetes, orthotic devices, trachs, and feeding tubes. We do not have therapists or nurses on staff at The Learning Center but welcome any such professionals who are working with your child to do so in our facility.
Do you have financial assistance available?
Families with household income levels that qualify for subsidized programs such as Head Start or public school pre-k should also qualify for childcare vouchers from the Department of Human Services. A full voucher pays 100% of your child's tuition at TLC, and a partial voucher can be used to offset the amount your family pays out of pocket. We encourage families to explore this option, as it can enable you to enroll your child in our quality, truly full day pre-k program.
What do you mean when you say that TLC is a "Montessori inspired" preschool?
The Montessori approach to education is child-centered. We often describe Montessori philosophy as "freedom within limits." Children are free to choose materials that appeal to them, and it is the responsibility of teachers to provide materials that will encourage the next steps in students' learning and to give students opportunities to interact with those materials. Our classrooms are filled with materials designed to be touched, moved, and fully experienced by preschoolers--nothing within their reach is inappropriate for them to use! A day at The Learning Center includes, in addition to plenty of time for these experiences, teacher guided lessons in large groups and small groups. Teachers read aloud multiple times per day, teach songs and finger plays to reinforce concepts, plan projects and activities for individual students and small groups, and facilitate different types of work with the materials offered in the classrooms. We believe that children shouldn't have to be forced to learn or to work. A child's play is their work, and it is a teacher's job to provide learning experiences that make this work enjoyable and enticing.
This sounds like fun, but will it prepare my child for kindergarten?
Absolutely! The best thing about the Montessori philosophy is that it is tailored to each child's unique needs and personality, giving each child time and space to develop at their own pace and in their own style, with the guiding hand of an experienced teacher. Instead of only developing skills that we think of as "academic" (writing and recognizing letters and numbers, counting, sounding out words, etc.,) a Montessori program develops the whole child. In addition to early math and language skills that meet and exceed standards for pre-k, the skills developed after 1-3 years in our program include an increased attention span, problem solving, cooperation in a group of peers, appropriately expressing strong emotions, motor skills, and independence--all skills essential for kindergarten success.
Is TLC rated or accredited by an agency?
The Learning Center is given the highest possible rating under Tennessee's Star Quality Rating Report Card system. This involves an in-depth assessment of every aspect of our center, completed every year. Participation in the Star Rating Report Card is optional, and receiving even 1 star indicates that a center has gone above and beyond what is required by Tennessee's licensing standard. In all 6 assessed categories (Professional Development, Family Involvement, Business Management, Program Assessment, and Developmental Learning), TLC has a rating of 3 stars. TLC is the only private center in the area with a 3-star rating in all categories. Choosing TLC means that you are simply choosing the best.
When is the school open?
The Learning Center is open Monday through Friday and basically follows the calendar of Marion County Schools. We close for fall break, spring break, Thanksgiving break, and Christmas break. We are open on Marion County's staff development days and in the summer (with the exception of a summer break on the week of the 4th of July each year.) Hours of operation are 7am to 4:30pm. Students should arrive by 8:30 each morning, and can be picked up between 2:30pm and 4:30pm.
What is your adult:child ratio?
The adult:child ratio at TLC is much smaller than required by licensing standards. We have 1 adult for every 8 students.
Are meals and snacks provided?
We provide a morning snack at 9:00 for all students. Students bring their own lunches each day. TLC provides milk for lunch, and families pack a low sugar lunch that includes a serving of each of the following: grain, protein, fruit/vegetable. We provide families with a more specific lunch guide and even some ideas for what to pack to get you started. An afternoon snack is also provided by TLC.
What supplies are needed?
Other than a daily packed lunch, everything your child needs is provided by TLC, including cots, sheets, and blankets for rest time. Your tuition covers all costs, and you will never be asked to sell anything or participate in any fundraisers.
How much is tuition?
Tuition is $3800 per school year. Summer is paid separately, for those enrolled during June and July. Please see the Summer tab for details of our most recent summer program. Annual, semi-annual, weekly, and monthly payment options are available. There is a sibling discount for families who have more than one child enrolled.
Tuition Payment Plans:
1 annual payment of $3800 (equivalent to $105 per week)
2 semi-annual payments of $1900 (equivalent to $105 per week)
10 monthly payments of $395 (equivalent to $110 per week)
36 weekly payments of $120
Can I enroll my child a few days per week instead of all five?
The short answer: No.
The rationale: Children, even more than adults, need routine in their lives. Becoming accustomed to a routine calms children, especially those who may tend to experience anxiety (including separation anxiety.) Attending preschool 2 or 3 days per week can be more stressful than attending 5 days per week. We have seen this lack of a predictable routine actually create anxiety in children who were not previously displaying signs of feeling anxious. As adults, we know how hard it is to come back to work on a Monday after being off on Sunday. It is equally difficult for children to come to school every other day. Attending every weekday means that children make friends more quickly, learn the classroom routine more quickly, form stronger bonds with teachers, and generally feel more at ease in school. Attending daily is an important component in adjusting to school life and readiness for kindergarten.
How do I secure a space for my child?
There are several ways to initiate contact with us! If you have questions, send an email through the Contact Us page, give us a call at 423-924-3317, or use our online form to let us know you would like to visit. If you already know that TLC is the right place for your child, you can go ahead and complete a pre-registration form online. We must have a completed pre-registration form on file, as well as a $30 registration fee in order for your child to be enrolled or placed on a waiting list. If your child is placed on a waiting list rather than being guaranteed a space in a class, your registration fee will be refunded if TLC is not able to offer you a place for your child during the school year you have requested.
Can I come by for a tour?
Yes, please do! Please call, send us a message, or fill our our online form to schedule a tour. Covid-19 restrictions require that we schedule tours in advance and conduct them when our currently enrolled students are not present.