The vibrant core of the Atrium School
When a child enters the Atrium School, the whole family is welcomed, from the smallest sibling to the eldest member. Teachers and parents become partners, providing support and care for children during the learning process, and often end up learning about new aspects of themselves along the way. The Atrium is a community of people committed to lifelong learning and openness to new experiences and endeavors at all ages.
Families are involved in the school community in a variety of ways—from classroom gatherings, field trips, and Friday all-school assemblies, where children share their work, perform, and sing together, to sports events, social dances, and festivals. Families may also attend a series of educational seminars. Last year, for example, the Atrium hosted a evening workshop with renowned author and educator Alfie Kohn for a discussion based on his book, The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, as well as a lecture on “A Scientific Assessment of Our Changing World” with national climate-change expert William Collins.
Special assemblies throughout the year celebrate the seasons: Harvest Assembly in October, the Solstice Assembly in December, and Spring Sing in May. BFG Day (Bring a Friend or Grandparent) is held in October to coincide with the Harvest Assembly. This is a special day for parents, friends, and grandparents of the children to visit the classrooms.
For the biannual El Mercado, the atrium space is transformed into a Central American marketplace where everything is labeled in Spanish and crafts and food made by the children are sold to benefit educational services in Central America. In alternating years, we hold a science fair, Eureka! in which parents, faculty, and children create and participate in science adventures.
Parents volunteer for various fundraising projects, such as the annual auction and international dance festival. They also are welcome to meet in smaller support groups, such as the "The Colors of Us," open to families of color and faculty who gather monthly to share perspectives and experiences. Single parent and non-traditional families are also invited to monthly dinner gatherings and discussions.
The Atrium also enjoys warm, longstanding relationships with past parents, and alumni, who often remain part of the community through visits, newsletters, invitations to lectures and events, and the annual alumni reunion. Many families count the people they met at Atrium among their friends for life.