The Highlander School

Contact information, map and directions, contact form, opening hours, services, ratings, photos, videos and announcements from The Highlander School, Nursery, 1212 McPherson Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA.

The Highlander School is an anti bias and anti racist nature centered learning community that fosters collaboration and a celebration of childhood in the East Atlanta Village.

Operating as usual

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/20/2024

The collards were more than ready to be harvested! Our talented gardener reminded us of the urgency to act. In preparation of this ritual, we revisited the purpose of the community garden. The children recalled: “ To share with those that don’t have food”. We also introduced the term “mutual aid” to shift our collective thinking about what it means to be in community with each other and exchange and share resources

They seemed fascinated by the space and the openness of the garden, picking a leaf and then running with it before placing it in the basket.

Tatum: This is a big one!

Once the baskets were filled we began to clean the collard greens. There was so much excitement and laughter. The children seemed to enjoy the sensory experience of washing the greens and transferring them from one container to the next, swirling the leaves. " Let's get you washed up...put you in the soapy water. "

Grateful to this space designed by and nurtured and supported by and

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/18/2024

We must never underestimate the power and right of every child to play. It's one of the most fundamental ways that humans experience nature and the world around them, make connections and generate new ideas. Schools should not be places to prepare children to be workers but spaces to celebrate the uniqueness of childhood!

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/03/2024

Last Saturday, during our Community Work Day, we filled our playscape with new plants, creating a sensory garden, adding fabric to our gathering circle, mulch, sand and creating a “stump city” for climbing. Much love and gratitude to all the volunteers that joined us and to and for leading our efforts and to appleseed tree service for donating the the tree stumps!!

Ms. Tori shares the story of “Equity & Equality and the children's Response to "Stump City"

Today on the playscape the children were jumping from tree stump to tree stump while exploring “stump city”. At one point the jumping came to a complete stop with Isadora stuck at the front of the line.
“I can’t jump that far” Isadora yelled out to the other children. “Just do it...jump”, Lassiter responded.

I was curious to how Isadora would respond. Isadora looked as if she wasn’t sure, but Sir came over with a wood plank and created a bridge for Isadora to walk across.
“Thank you”, Isadora said.

It seemed as if Sir’s act of kindness inspired the other children. I noticed the children adding more planks of wood, connecting the stumps together and supporting each other. The addition to the playscape created new pathways for the children and us to learn about living together.

As adults, what can we learn from the ways that children support their community members?

Thank you for capturing these images, story and offering this question! ❤️

Photos from The Highlander School's post 02/17/2024

Recently, the children have been exploring and climbing one of of our sweet fig trees. They've yearned to take on risks, explore greater heights and her branches have served as loving arms. For many years, we discouraged the children from climbing many of the trees on the playscape because they were young and vulnerable. The branches now seem to be able and ready to embrace their weight. The teachers have also had conversations about caring for the fig tree and being gentle.

Romi: That's how we take care of the tree.
Educator: How? How do we take care of our trees?
Romi: That's how. Kiss it (said as she kissed the branch).

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.”
— Katrina Mayer

Photos from The Highlander School's post 02/14/2024

Today we made mud. A full bodied experience connecting us with earth, each other and the many patterns of children's play.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 02/08/2024

Thank you for organizing and inviting our community to celebrate Global School Play Day at Lang-Carson Park.

Global School Play Day began in 2015 by
a group of educators who were "inspired by their observations of the diminishing opportunities for unstructured play in schools and the increasing focus on standardized testing and academic pressures". Yesterday's event was a child centered open invitation to play full of expression, movement, risk taking and connections.
Play is the right of the every child!

02/07/2024

Celebrate Global School Play Day with some good ole family fun and child-centered play on Wednesday, February 7 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at Lang-Carson Park in Reynoldstown. Snacks and play supplies will be provided! Thanks to nonprofit ATL Parent Like A Boss, Inc. for sponsoring this play date!

Photos from The Highlander School's post 01/31/2024

For as long as we can remember Zuri has loved to climb. As an infant, she'd often skillfully climb on top of the tables without any fear or hesitation. Confident in her own abilities, her risk taking was often challenging to the adults around her. How do we create the space for her to explore height and power and be safe? We were also conscious of a world that would try to hold her back for so many reasons. The fear was ours and not hers. So we observed and remained by her side. It's important that children learn to trust themselves, have agency over their bodies and experience power. Today, she navigated the tree stumps with grace and resilience and when she climbed the tallest one she lifted both her arms in air and stated with a smile: " I'm high! I'm high"

Photos from The Highlander School's post 01/19/2024

Remembering the life of Manual Esteban Paez Teran lovingly known as Tortuguita, a q***r environmental activist that lost their life from state violence while protecting the Weelaunee Forest. Rest in Power

"Does that look like em."
"I'm going to make this picture to make their mom feel better".


Photos from The Highlander School's post 01/17/2024

As we immerse ourselves in the week of action, and reimagining a world free of war, state violence and oppression, we remain inspired by courageous freedom fighters such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others.

Matthew J. Dolezeal reminds us:
The truth is that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an uncompromising social justice warrior and a left-wing radical who defied the liberal establishment, abhorred military conquest, denounced capitalist exploitation, and gave his life to dismantle white supremacy.
At THS, we celebrate and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from a place of truth telling and love. We are a community that supports children’s ability to recognize injustice, discrimination and to have the confidence to stand against it even if alone.
What hopes are you holding for a reimagined world?


war community

Photos from The Highlander School's post 01/05/2024

How Do Young Children Communicate? How Do Young Children Develop Community?

We began the new year with a curiosity about young children’s means of communication and the many ways that they build community. Our observations today highlighted how we as individuals need to have a sense of belonging. Morning drop off was a bit challenging for Ali. Tears rolled as his mother departed and the stories of sadness covered his face. His mood changed with the onset of morning meeting as Ali, along with his friends, shared the joys of music and movement together. Many of the children clapped in unison, nodded their heads, and moved their bodies. As this time ended, and the other children eagerly ventured into small group work Ali, remained on the rug. Again, his face was solemn and the tears flowed.
Ms. Julia asked: Are you ok?
Ali responded softly: Ma-ma… da-dy
Ms. Julia asked: Do you need a hug?
Ali nodded. Ms. Julia lifted Ali in her lap, offered a warm embrace and held him for a while. In time, they stood up together and walked toward the light table.There was an exchange of smiles as Ali experimented with looking through the transparent blocks. Zuri quickly joined the play and they seemed to share more ideas, stacking the blocks together.

Teacher’s Reflection: Ali skillfully communicated his feelings in many non-verbal ways. His messages were received by his community as music brought moments of joy but, it was the touch and embrace of the teacher that grounded him to feel secure and engage in further critically thinking. A tender moment to remind us all, that young children must feel safe and loved unconditionally to live and be their authentic selves.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 12/01/2023

The last harvest from the community garden sparked powerful conversations amongst the children about the meaning of sharing and shelter as a community and in particular for members that are unhoused. Yesterday, the teachers asked: " What does shelter mean?"

Sir: “Shelter means that you have a home and you live in it. And when you live in it you have food and things to survive the night."

Mei: “Shelter is something like a shell like a turtle or a roof like a house."

Conley: “Shelter means when you’re at home and you’re very hungry then you’re going to ask your mommy to get something for you, then you gobble it up.”

Tatum: “ Shelter means the whole world is alive for everyone to be on and they can walk everywhere.”

Sir: “Maybe we can build them a house and give them some food that we left and never ate. And then after their old house we’ll just give them a new house, and then to celebrate we’ll have a little party."

Mei: “ We can also show them to the Highlander School and we can make leaves that drop to the ground and use sticks to make them a tent, using all the stuff from nature. So we can give them shelter and we can make lots and lots of tents one by one.”
Wittika: “ What should we ask our friends?”

Mei: “We should ask them, follow us, we have some shelter for you!

Rukia: “.....What if they have another idea of what they need?”

Mei: “We can also put food, we can ask, what’s your favorite food? And they might follow us, if we say we have their favorite food. And also, if they don’t want to go to their shelter, that can be okay, we can find a different shelter, and we can leave their food here so they don’t have to be hungry.”

Tatum: “We should ask them what do they like, and we should give them the food they like so we can get the food they like.”

Photos from The Highlander School's post 11/25/2023

The Many Stories of Our Beloved Community: Honoring Young Children's Kinship and Connections with the World is compilation of the lived practices and values of The Highlander School. The book is the result of the love, work and fierce commitment of my community to a reimagined world. I had the honor of compiling these stories but it is a testament to the collective work of the children, educators, families, colleagues and earth centered practitioners. It's an invitation to see children’s infinite capacity for love, empathy, justice and kinship and their innate desire to connect with the world around them. As much as it is the stories of love, it's also the stories of struggle, growth and the evolution to take up brave conversations and wrestle with the bias, racism and inequities that remain constant in our world. That is the Beloved Community. The book’s release is in March and I look forward to the conversations and exchanges that will unfold.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 11/24/2023

We are deeply concerned and heart broken by the on-going wars and violent conflicts that so many children and communities are enduring. It is estimated that over 400 million children live in conflict zones from the Congo to Sudan including over 4,000 children lost in Gaza alone in the last 5 weeks. These horrors include mass and violent displacement of people from their homes and trauma that will last for generations. We watch as children in Gaza endure incredible pain from explosions and collapsing buildings injuring their small bodies and families with no means to relieve their pain. In many ways we have failed to create the world that they and every being so rightfully deserve.

We call for an end to never ending wars, militarization and an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. We recognize that a cease fire is a minimal demand and human rights are without conditions.

*Children have the right to life
*Children have the right to water, food, housing, clothing, comfort and joy
*Children have the right to be free from harm in any form, intimidation, humiliation, physical abuse including carpet bombing and gunfire
*Children have the right to live in a community with those that will care for them

Earlier this month we celebrated Dia de los Mu**to and honored the lives lost with the following invitation.
On this Dia de los Mu**tos we honor with heavy hearts the lives of the children lost in Palestine and Israel this month. This day is about celebrating life, about recognizing that those who have left us in body are still present in our lives, in our memories, and in our hearts. Three thousand Palestinian children went back to nature this month, long before their time. These children played, had dreams, loved and were loved, just like the children who run around the Highlander School every day. They will be remembered for their deaths, but today we remember them for their lives. In this moment of extreme grief and agony, we gather to celebrate and commemorate these children, to share in our grief, and process this unfathomable violence in community with each other. We invite each other to consider what a re-imagined world can look like, one free of war and conflict, where abundance is shared. We aim to strive for that world in community, and in action, knowing that peace cannot be without justice. Please add a ribbon in honor of their lives.

Please join us in affirming your commitment to the Beloved Community: write, call, sing, dance, fight for a better world.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 11/02/2023

Our last harvest included sweet potatoes, green peppers, jalapeños, pumpkins and tomatoes. We shared the abundance with both the living ( the rodents had already taken their share) and the "dearly departed", as the harvest was offered to our neighbors and some was placed on the altar to celebrate the dia de los mu***os and honor our ancestors.
Much gratitude to this earth and our community of growers

Photos from The Highlander School's post 09/23/2023

We celebrated the fall equinox with songs and blessings for our mother tree. The children paraded as a school carrying gifts, playing instruments and singing "funga alafia". We gathered around the tree and offered expressions of gratitude for the balance, and we made offerings of oranges, sweet bread, chocolate, coconut flakes and honey to the tree. Kennedy age two, instructed the other children: This is for the tree! Don't eat it!
Later as she laid the gifts against its trunk, she said: This is for you tree!
Wyatt later rearranged the offerings placing a piece of chocolate atop of each slice of orange.
The other children took turns placing the offerings and gifts around the tree.
As expected, Nico amongst the youngest, couldn't resist eating a piece of chocolate.
In community, we honor and celebrate the rhythms of this earth and the children's kinship with her.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 09/22/2023

We have begun our new school year and time together with an interest in deeply understanding the identity of each member of our community as a means to be in relationship with them. Its the process of creating a space to be known full well. We look forward to sharing the stories of our families with the children and creating spaces that reflect their identity in connection with their community. We are holding the questions:
Who am I? Who am I in relationship to this earth and my community?

Bhupi: “Ruby, I see you looking in the mirror. What do you see?”
Ruby: “I see you. And I see me. And my eyebrows and
my nose and my ears and my hair and my mouth.”

Edith: “I draw Mama, Dada, and Edith. Mama went to the doctor.”

Tatum: My hair is beautiful and cute..like, like …I love the trees and my hair, and its beautiful because I love to hug the trees.

Power words about how the children see themselves in relationship to their community.

08/07/2023

A scene from our open house today which featured a grazing board, small bites and tea sourced from our gardens and local farmers featured . We wanted to begin our year delving deeper into our connections with the land and exploring and experiencing the language of food.

Thank you for your continued support and sharing your gifts. Yum!

Photos from The Highlander School's post 07/10/2023

The children have been studying many different plants thriving on the land that they play upon. They planted sunflower seeds a couple of months ago and tenderly cared for them. There has been the time and space for inquiry and wonder. Our goal is not for children to memorize information to be regurgitated but to nurture their natural dispositions for learning and seeking to be in relationships with the world around them. Their detailed representations of the sunflowers speaks to their connection and knowing of the plants at a young age.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 07/09/2023

We watched with delight as the children explored the gift of water on a hot day. Our days are increasingly hot!

Keiran beautifully described the story as it unfolded.

by the children’s love for bubbles and their ever-present desire to splash in water, we offered them an opportunity to engage their whole bodies in wet, bubbly fun! We filled up bowls of varying sizes with soapy water and set out different kinds of scoops and tools for the children to use however they desired. Immediately they began splashing, transferring the water between bowls, dumping it on their bodies, stirring it with whisks, and using their hands to lift bubbles out of the water and examine them up close. Shrieks and giggles and shouts conveyed their joy and delight in being wet and soapy, and they all enthusiastically signed “more” whenever the bowls started to look empty. Staying cool in the Georgia summer heat has never been so fun!

Grateful for this reflection, the moment and to Nicole for capturing the moment!
❤️

Photos from The Highlander School's post 06/19/2023

The children in collaboration with their teachers continue to explore the art of tea making and the ways in which this earth and plants heal us. Their small and powerful hands placed the chamomile seeds in the dirt and tended to them over the last couple of months. Their harvest was gentle and full of expressions of gratitude. The children hold a strong connection with the land upon which they play and knowing of her plants. That's inspirational. I remain in awe of this work and reclaimed ways of living. Much love to our teachers and Jessica for their thoughtfulness and documentation. Look what you started !

Photos from The Highlander School's post 05/27/2023

This Thursday, we held our annual bridging ceremony, celebrating our time with children and families transitioning to Kindergarten and Pre-K. In our tradition, Nana made each child a cape and as they crossed the bridge, we called out their hopes, accolades from their friends and the name of their new school with a dab! These children entered our space during a pandemic and taught us about the possibilities of a reimagined world. And in the beautiful midst of it all, we learned to listen deeply to their expression of kinship to the natural world. They have been fierce activists and stewards of this land, singing to the trees, creating "potions" to heal and chatting "don't cut down the trees"!
May each of you continue to grow in your power and love! The "class of 2023" will forever remain in our hearts. 

Thank you @ Rand Lines for capturing these moment!

Photos from The Highlander School's post 05/13/2023

Foraging is what young humans naturally do. No lessons needed ...just the space and time to enjoy this earth's abundance. Our infant/toddler educator Kieran captured the many moments of the children's interaction with the offerings of spring, and the full sensory experience of foraging wild blackberries.

Robin Wall Kimmerer notes that
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.
❤️

Photos from The Highlander School's post 04/28/2023

The image of the child that we hold is one of power, intelligence, born from connection and an integral part of our community both the human and more than human world. Last week, we took a field trip to the the Atlanta City Hall, to create the space and time for the children to express their thoughts about saving the Weelaunee Forest and to give visibility to children as active members of our community.

In preparation for the field trip, we asked the children what they wanted to say to Mayor Dickens.
The first response: I love you
The second response: Don't cut down the trees!
We were a bit surprised by the first response but it is a reminder of how children hold space for complex and layered emotions.

Some chose to craft letters.

Dear Mayor Andre Dickens,

Don't cut down the tree because they are our family.
Love,
Callie

Unfortunately, the letter wasn't delivered yet.

04/27/2023

We are looking for radical passionate individuals who love collaborating and thinking along side young children, families and colleagues. The Highlander School is an anti bias anti racist nature centered school.  Send your resume and cover letter or message to: [email protected].

Photos from The Highlander School's post 04/26/2023

Zuri joined the clay provocation this morning. It has been amazing to see the children’s progression with the use and manipulation of clay. Zuri used the natural materials and her fingers to make marks on the slab of clay. She rubbed her hands on the marks and noticed her work. She later pinched and pulled the clay into smaller pieces. It was evident in her facial expression that she was using strength to pull. This is great for fine motor skills. With the smaller pieces we began to attempt to coil the clay. Zuri put her hands together and began moving them up and down. Much gratitude to our studio teacher for capturing this moment! It's a story of the right of the child to engage in self expression and engage with the gifts of this ear

03/31/2023

The Study of the Dogwood Tree
The children's knowing of this land and her plants is manifested in many ways. They have proposed "to make pictures " of the trees and create a book as another way of connecting and gift giving.

Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/25/2023

While painting, Zora has begun to explore her face as a canvass. The educators noticed the ways in which she intentionally applied the paint to her eyelids and cheeks and offered her a mirror. Zora watched the power of her hands and her transformation as she held the mirror. The other children seemed inspired to paint with the new possibilities of incorporating a mirror and seeing their creation from different points of view. Childhood is a beautiful time of the human experience.... we can only hope to maintain the same sense of wonder, inquiry and openness.

What details are capturing your heart and mind?

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/22/2023

Many weeks ago, we planted more native trees at the school, with the support of our beloved community. It has become our new tradition to ask the children how will we welcome the new trees. The children concerned about the Weelaunee Forest offered many gifts of love and protection to the new trees. Our celebration of the first day spring included a visit to each new tree and the mother tree and offerings of blessings, songs, signs, bracelets, fruit, acorn bread and potions ....and more potions.

"Potion so they don't cut the trees.
My potion has orange peel for the fruit of the tree and petals, also cinnamon so that it is strong and water so that it grows very large."
CL 3.7 years old

"Sugar Punch
My potion is for the trees has a cinnamon stick and it will give the tree love and power."
NL. 4 years old

"Sugar Shot
My potion has a cinnamon stick to give the trees power to grow. The peppermint oil is so that they are always happy and do not get sick and the salt is so that their leaves and acorns are healthy, I love you Mother tree."
SW 4.7 years old

"Magical potion for the Mother Tree
My potion has earth because the mother tree likes it and sand and salt so it doesn't get hungry. My potion is magical and it will turn the mother tree into a strong tree and no one will tear it down."
LA 3. 6 years

"Thank you plum tree for giving us air, fruit, shade and oxygen".
JN 4 years old

Grateful for the collaboration with our thoughtful educators and their sensitivity and respect for young children, our consultant Sonya Shoptaugh for the constant love and reimagining the world with us, Robby Astrove for placing the trees in ground and sharing your wisdom and our families for their grace and partnership.

Photos from The Highlander School's post 03/20/2023

"I'm building a river. I need more triangles."

play is the mode by which children make meaning of their world and share their inner thoughts.

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Videos (show all)

The Study of the Dogwood TreeThe children's knowing of this land and her plants is manifested in many ways. They have pr...
Preparing our spaces and minds to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many other Black, Bro...
Our children have a strong kinship with the trees at our school ...the Mother tree, the fig trees, the paw paw trees, th...
Children are interested in connecting with the world around them including the plants and life found where they spend th...
Birthday/Going Away Celebration
Exploring the Beauty of Music Together

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1212 McPherson Avenue SE
Atlanta, GA
30316

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 5:15pm
Tuesday 8am - 5:15pm
Wednesday 8am - 5:15pm
Thursday 8am - 5:15pm
Friday 8am - 5:15pm
Saturday 8am - 5:15pm
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