Preschool Program

The Preschool Program is an inclusive educational program designed to provide a rich learning environment for all young children.

Our program offers a community of highly experienced teachers and education researchers who partner with parents and families to maximize opportunities for child development. We create individual goals for each child as we follow a well-rounded education curriculum that promotes learning across many areas. The inclusive nature of the Preschool Program challenges children to engage with the world around them, approach each other with care, and graduate well-prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

Because of our high teacher-to-student-ratio, as well as our personal approach to teaching, we are just as successful in supporting children with autism as those without developmental concerns.  We focus on meeting the social and emotional needs of all children, promoting independent participation in classroom routines and activities and nurturing their emerging communication skills as they learn together.

About us

The Preschool Program is a collaboration of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University and Marcus Autism Center. We operate as both a school and a place of research on preschool education. As a result, the Preschool Program continuously creates new and better ways of supporting families and meeting the learning needs of all children.

We are currently enrolling 2- and 3-year-old children and will continue to expand our classrooms to enroll 4- and 5-year-old children in the coming years.  We offer half-day classroom hours from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and full-day classroom hours and aftercare from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. We operate on a year-round schedule from August to July.

The Preschool Program is licensed as a Child Care Learning Center by Georgia’s Department of Early Childhood Education and Learning (DECAL; CCLC-47864).

Our unique approach

Our classrooms provide an inclusive educational environment where children with and without autism learn together. By enrolling in our program, you and your child will discover that all children have their own unique ways of playing, thinking, feeling, relating and learning. Children learn best when they engage with others who experience and participate in different ways, and this diversity reflects the world we live in. Our Preschool Program teachers create flexible classroom environments that accommodate and embrace each child’s unique way of learning.

To better understand our Preschool Program, it helps to have a basic understanding of autism. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a child’s social skills, communication or behavior. It often means that a child’s brain develops and works a little differently and can affect how that child understands and relates to others. True to its name, autism is a spectrum. No two children with autism are exactly alike; some kids may have severe challenges while others do not.

While toddlers and preschoolers with autism may face some unique challenges, overall they have more in common with their typically developing friends than not. Most differences tend to be subtle and are best understood as part of the range of personalities and learning styles in the class. All children with autism admitted to our program are ready to learn and contribute to the learning of their friends.


Enrollment is currently open for our Early Preschool classroom. To enroll in this classroom, children must either be 2 years old on September 1 of the respective school year or 2 years old on the day of enrollment.

Similarly, to enroll in the Preschool classroom, children must be 3 years on September 1 of the respective school year. This classroom will open in August 2018.

Children are ready to learn in the Preschool Program if they:

  • Pay attention to and show interest in other children.
  • Have started to communicate using gestures, eye contact and short phrases.
  • Have started to engage in pretend or dramatic play such as feeding a doll or dressing up.

Children with autism seeking enrollment must have a diagnosis at the time of admission. Evidence of age-appropriate immunizations must also be provided at the time of enrollment.

Email or call 404-785-6511 if you are interested in enrolling your child, scheduling a tour or learning more about our program.

Tuition fees

Monthly tuition rates are outlined below.

  • Early Preschool classroom (2 years on September 1): $1,250
  • Preschool classroom (3 years on September 1): $1,200

Half-day enrollment may be offered at a reduced rate. Limited tuition subsidies are available based on economic need.

Curriculum information

The Preschool Program uses a two-tiered curriculum that includes both The Creative Curriculum and the SCERTS Model.

  • The Creative Curriculum bases its educational approach on the idea that all children progress and learn through interactions with the social and physical environments. The Creative Curriculum provides an open framework consisting of a set of guiding principles and practices for children of varying developmental levels. The Creative Curriculum allows for modifications and adaptations to ensure success for all children and is respectful of family home values, beliefs and experiences.
  • The SCERTS Model, complementary to the Creative Curriculum, is an assessment-intervention approach aimed at the most significant challenges faced by children with autism. The curriculum targets individualized intervention goals and objectives for students in the domains of social communication (SC) and emotional regulation (ER). Transactional supports (TS) are intervention or teaching strategies embedded in everyday activities to support child learning and active engagement. The SCERTS Model is based on the following principles:
    • Social communication goals emphasize functional use of communication in natural settings.
    • Child emotional regulation and its effect on communication, interaction, and learning and arousal states are monitored continuously.
    • Approaches to problem behavior are integrated with social communication and emotional regulation.
    • Environments are arranged and activities are designed to foster motivation and encourage initiation of communication.
    • Transactional supports are used to promote active and independent participation in activities.
    • Learning and playing with peers is an essential component of education.
    • Development of positive relationships among professionals and family members is critical to successful collaboration.

Class schedule and activities

The following schedule is an example and is subject to change.

8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.  Arrival (Attendance)
8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. Centers (Child-directed small group activity)
9:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Clean up transition song, class helper check-in
9:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. Snack story
9:50 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Morning meeting (Teacher-directed large group activity with music and movement)
10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. Small group sessions
11:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Outdoor free play (Child-directed)
12:05 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. Lunch, clean up
12:35 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Zen zone
1:00 p.m. Half-day pickup time
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Naptime routine
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Snack story
2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Centers (Child-directed small group activity)
3:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Small group sessions
4:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Afternoon meeting (Teacher-directed large group activity with music and movement)
4:15 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. Outdoor free play (Child-directed), zen zone
5:20 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Clean up, rug activities, goodbyes
5:30 p.m. Full-day pickup time

Meals and snacks: The Preschool Program will not provide any food for lunch or snacks. All food is to be provided by the parent/guardian and sent with the child daily. Foods that require heating or refrigeration are not permitted. 

Dates and hours of operation

The Preschool Program operates on a year-round schedule from August to July: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Aftercare is provided from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Morning drop-off is from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The preschool does not offer transportation or care before classroom instruction begins. Parents and guardians are expected to drop off and pick up children according to the half-day or full-day schedule they have selected.

2018 Calendar

  • August 1, 2018 – Last day of the 2017/18 school year
  • August 2, 2018 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Development Day)
  • August 3, 2018 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Development Day)
  • August 6, 2018 – First day of the 2018/19 school year
  • September 3, 2018 – Preschool Closed (Labor Day)
  • November 6, 2018 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Dev. Day)
  • November 22-23, 2018 – Preschool Closed (Thanksgiving Break)
  • December 24, 2018 – January 3, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Winter Break)
  • January 4, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Dev. Day)
  • January 21, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Martin L. King Day)
  • March 8, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Development Day)
  • April 1-5, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Spring Break)
  • May 24, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Teacher Professional Development Day)
  • May 27, 2019 – Preschool Closed (Memorial Day)
  • July 4, 2019 –Preschool Closed (Independence Day)

Please note: The Preschool Program is subject to close during inclement weather conditions.  

Contact us

Coordinator: Miche’l Fowler, MA, CMFT

Director (DECAL): Michael Siller, PhD

Executive Directors: Lindee Morgan, PhD, and Michael Siller, PhD

Contact: 404-785-6511


Marcus Autism Center

1920 Briarcliff Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30329


Email or call 404-785-6511 if you are interested in enrolling your child, scheduling a tour or learning more about our program.