Our inclusive environment provides a rich learning space where all kids can thrive.

children playing with water at marcus autism center

At the Preschool Program, our high teacher-to-student-ratio, as well as our personal approach to teaching, means we’re equally successful in supporting children with autism as those without developmental concerns.

Our preschool:

  • Develops individualized instruction for each student.
  • Has leading early childhood researchers monitor student progress. 
  • Provides ongoing training for teachers.
  • Values empathy and acceptance.
  • Provides made-from-scratch, farm-to-table vegetarian lunches every day.
  • Has an open-door policy and works closely with families. 

About us

The Preschool Program, now offering Georgia Pre-K, is a collaboration of Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University. We operate as both a school and a place of research on preschool education. Because of this unique relationship, our program continuously creates new and better ways of supporting families and meeting the learning needs of all children.

We are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and located on Briarcliff Road near Emory University. We offer tuition-based classrooms for 2- to 4-year-olds and a lottery-funded Georgia Pre-K classroom for children who are 4 years old by September 1. Our farm-to-table nutrition program provides made-from-scratch vegetarian lunches every day.

We operate on a year-round schedule from August through July. The Preschool Program is licensed as a Child Care Learning Center by Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL; CCLC-47864).

Our unique approach

Our classrooms allow children with and without autism to learn together. Our teachers create flexible classroom environments that accommodate and embrace each child’s individual way of learning. By enrolling in our preschool, your child will discover that all children have their own unique ways of playing, thinking, feeling, relating and learning.

Learning alongside a child with autism

To better understand how our school works, 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 a little differently and can impact how that child understands and relates to others. True to its name, autism is a spectrum. No two children with autism are exactly alike.

Toddlers and preschoolers who have autism may face some unique challenges, but 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. All children with autism admitted to our program are ready to learn and contribute to their friends’ learning as well.

Our classrooms at a glance

Children ages 2 to 5 years enroll in one of three classrooms: Early Preschool, Preschool, or Georgia Pre-K. Generally, children are assigned to classrooms based on their age on September 1 of the current school year (August to July). Made-from-scratch, farm-to-table vegetarian lunches are provided for a monthly fee of $120. All stated fees and tuition rates are valid for the 2019-2020 school year.

Early Preschool: 

  • Age: 2 years old by September 1 or 2 years at enrollment
  • Number of children in classroom: 12
  • Number of teachers: 3
  • Monthly tuition: $1,325*

Preschool: 

  • Age: 3 years old by September 1
  • Number of children: 16
  • Number of teachers: 3
  • Monthly tuition: $1,275*

Georgia Pre-K:

  • Age: 4 years old by September 1
  • Number of children: 18
  • Number of teachers: 3
  • Monthly tuition: Free+ 
* Half-day enrollment (7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at a reduced rate is possible. Tuition subsidies are granted based on economic need.

+ Georgia Pre-K hours are from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., 180 days a year. Before- and aftercare is available for a monthly fee of $490; school-break and summer camps are available for $70 a day or $320 a week. 

Admission

Children are ready to participate in our Preschool Program and Georgia Pre-K classroom 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. 

Students must provide evidence of age-appropriate immunizations at the time of enrollment. Children with autism seeking enrollment must have a diagnosis at the time of admission. 

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

Tours are offered on Thursdays and Fridays at 10 a.m.

Our curriculum

The Preschool Program and Georgia Pre-K classroom uses a two-tiered curriculum that includes The Creative Curriculum and the Social-Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support (SCERTS) Model.

The Creative Curriculum assumes that all children learn and progress through interacting with social and physical environments. It provides an open framework but is informed by a set of guiding principles and practices for children of various developmental levels. The Creative Curriculum allows for modifications to ensure success for all children. It is also inclusive and respectful of a child’s family’s values, beliefs and experiences.

The SCERTS Model is complementary to the Creative Curriculum. It is an assessment-intervention approach that addresses the challenges faced by children who have autism. The curriculum targets individualized intervention objectives for students with the goals to improve social communication and emotional regulation. It uses transactional supports, which are intervention or teaching strategies embedded in everyday activities to support learning and active engagement.

A sample day

The following schedule illustrates a typical day in the Early Preschool classroom (2019-2020 schedule). This is not a specific schedule and is subject to change.

  • 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Arrival (attendance)/tabletop activities/independent play
  • 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Free play (small group activities and choice time)
  • 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.: Bathroom break/free choice
  • Transition: Mighty minute/cross-body activity
  • 9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Morning meeting time (Teacher-directed, large group activity, check-in, handwashing transition song)
  • 9:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.: Snack story/poem
  • 9:50 a.m. to 10: 10 a.m.: Free play (Child-directed, small group activity)
  • Book discussion cards, intentional teaching
  • 10:10 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.: Morning meeting time (teacher-directed, large group activity, rhyme with me)
  • 10:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.: Free play (small group activities and choice time)
  • 10:40 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.: Music and movement/bathroom break
  • 11:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.: Outdoor free play (child-directed)
  • Transition: Songs in Spanish
  • 12:05 p.m. to 12:35 p.m.: Lunch
  • Transition: Clean up and put lunch box in tote
  • 12:35 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Zen zone
  • Transition: Independent reading, individual goodbyes
  • 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.: Naptime routine
  • Transition: Bathroom
  • 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Snack story
  • 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Afternoon meeting
  • 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Free play
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.: Outdoor free play afternoon meeting (large group, intentional teaching/music and movement)
  • 5:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Zen Zone/bathroom, goodbye and pickup
  • Transition: Rug activities

Cozy area and spaces for privacy are accessible during all center times. Staff available to read to children informally during all center times

 

School hours and calendar for the Early Preschool and Preschool classrooms (tuition-based classrooms for 2- to 4-year-olds)

Our preschool classrooms are open between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Families enrolled in the Early Preschool or Preschool classrooms who select the half-day option are expected to pick up children by 1 p.m.

  • July 26, 2019 – Last day of the 2018/19 school year
  • July 29, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • July 30, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • July 31, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 1, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 2, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 5, 2019 – First day of the 2019-2020 school year
  • Sept. 2, 2019 – Preschool closed (Labor Day)
  • Nov. 5, 2019 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Nov. 28-29, 2019 – Preschool closed (Thanksgiving break)
  • Dec. 23, 2019 – Jan. 2, 2020 – Preschool closed (Winter break)
  • Jan. 3, 2020 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Jan. 20, 2020 – Preschool closed (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • March 13, 2020 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • April 6-10, 2020 – Preschool closed (Spring break)
  • May 22, 2020 – Preschool closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • May 25, 2020 – Preschool closed (Memorial Day)
  • July 3, 2020 –Summer Camp closed (Independence Day)

All classrooms are subject to close during inclement weather conditions. Closure due to weather will be decided by the Preschool Program’s administration on a case-by-case basis.

School hours and calendar for the Georgia Pre-K classroom

The Georgia Pre-K classroom hours are from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Unless families select the before- and aftercare option, they are expected to drop their children off after 8:30 a.m. and pick up their children before 3:30 p.m. Before-care is available between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and aftercare is available between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

2019-2020 Georgia Pre-K calendar

  • July 29, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • July 30, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • July 31, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 1, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 2, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Aug. 5, 2019 – First day of the 2019-2020 school year
  • Sept. 2, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (Labor Day)
  • Oct. 10, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed – Day camp available
  • Oct. 11, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed – Day camp available
  • Oct. 14, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Nov. 5, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Nov. 25-27, 2019 – Pre-K classroom closed – Day camp available
  • Nov. 28-29, 2019 – Preschool and Pre-K closed (Thanksgiving break)
  • Dec. 23, 2019 to Jan. 2, 2020 – Preschool and Pre-K closed (Winter break)
  • Jan. 3, 2012 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • Jan. 20, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • Feb. 14, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed – Day camp available
  • Feb. 17, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed – Day camp available
  • March 13, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • April 6-10, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed (Spring break)
  • May 21, 2020 – Last day of the 2019-2020 Pre-K Classroom
  • May 22, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed (teacher planning/professional development day)
  • May 25, 2020 – Pre-K classroom closed (Memorial Day)
  • May 26-July 2, 2020 – Summer Camp
  • July 3, 2020 –Summer Camp closed (Independence Day)
  • July 6-July 24, 2020 – Summer Camp

Have more questions?

Read more about the details of the Preschool Program.

Enroll today. Complete the form below to learn more about our Preschool Program.

Email our team or call 404-785-6511 if you'd like to connect with our team directly. We would love to hear more about your child and are happy to schedule a school tour at a time that works for your family.

Director (DECAL): Michael Siller, PhD
Executive Directors: Lindee Morgan, PhD, and Michael Siller, PhD

Marcus Autism Center
1920 Briarcliff Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329