Preschool Program

An Atlanta preschool for all children

Atlanta preschool teacher playing with toddlersOur progressive Preschool Program provides a rich learning environment for all young children in Atlanta. 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 develop individualized instruction for each student.
  • Student progress is monitored and guided by early childhood researchers.
  • Our teachers receive ongoing training in best practices.
  • We value empathy and acceptance.
  • We have an open-door policy and work closely with families

About us

The Preschool Program 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, 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. The preschool is open Monday through Friday, and classroom hours are as follows:

  • Half-day program–8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Full-day program–8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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

Children learn best when they interact with others who experience and participate in different ways. Our classrooms allow children with and without autism to learn together. By enrolling in our program, your child will discover that all children have their own unique ways of playing, thinking, feeling, relating and learning. Our teachers create flexible classroom environments that accommodate and embrace each child’s unique way of learning.

To better understand our 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.

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 the learning of their friends.


Enrollment is currently open.

The Early Preschool Classroom serves children that are 2 years old on Sept. 1 of the respective school year or 2 years old on the day of enrollment.

The Preschool Classroom serves children that are 3 years old on Sept. 1 of the respective school year.

Children are ready to participate in our 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.

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


Monthly tuition rates are outlined below.

  • Early Preschool classroom (student must be 2 years old on Sept. 1 or 2 years old on the day of enrollment): $1,250
  • Preschool classroom (student must be 3 years old on Sept. 1): $1,200

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

Our curriculum

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

The Creative Curriculum is based on the concept that all children learn and progress through interacting with social and physical environments. It provides an open framework that consists of 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 Preschool Program. This is not a specific schedule 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

School hours and calendar

The Preschool Program is open 8:15 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Parents are expected to drop off and pick up children according to the half-day or full-day schedule they have selected.

2018/2019 School calendar

  • August 1, 2018–Last day of the 2017/2018 school year
  • August 2-3, 2018 –Closed for teacher development
  • August 6, 2018–First day of the 2018/2019 school year
  • September 3, 2018 –Closed for Labor Day holiday
  • November 6, 2018–Closed for teacher professional development
  • November 22-23, 2018–Closed for Thanksgiving holiday
  • December 24, 2018-January 3, 2019–Closed for winter break
  • January 4, 2019–Closed for teacher professional development
  • January 21, 2019–Closed for Martin L. King, Jr. Holiday
  • March 8, 2019–Closed for teacher professional development
  • April 1-5, 2019–Closed for spring break
  • May 24, 2019–Closed for teacher professional development
  • May 27, 2019 –Closed for Memorial Day holiday
  • July 4, 2019–Closed for Independence Day holiday

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

Frequently asked questions

Does the school provide meals or snacks?

  • Families are responsible for providing all food for lunch and snacks. Lunch and snacks should be sent with your child daily. Classrooms do not have refrigerators or microwaves.

Does my child have to be toilet trained to attend?

  • No. We meet children where they are, and work with families to create and implement a plan to promote independent toileting once children are ready.

Do I provide my own diapers and wipes for my child?

  • Yes. You will need to provide diapers and wipes for your child.

What are the student-to-teacher ratios for your classrooms?

  • Early preschool classroom (2 year olds): about four students to one teacher (maximum class size: 12 students)
  • Preschool classroom (3 year olds): about six students to one teacher (maximum class size: 16 students)

What qualifications do your teachers have?

  • Our teachers hold various degrees and certificates in early childhood education, and are highly experienced preschool teachers.

What are the preschool’s credentials?

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

What does the research component of the Preschool Program look like?

  • We frequently observe students and teachers during regular classroom activities, either in person or by recording classroom videos. Periodically, we retrain our teachers to use new materials, activities or student supports. Students complete assessments throughout the year to measure learning and development.

What does it mean for my child to be in a classroom with children with autism?

  • All children with autism admitted to our program are ready to learn and contribute to the learning of their friends. Having a classmate with autism is a wonderful opportunity for young children.
    • They learn that all children think, play and communicate differently—and recognize the joy that comes from celebrating our differences.
    • They learn to approach their peers with empathy and care. In turn, they experience the confidence that comes from making a difference in another person’s life.
    • They benefit from teachers who embrace the idea that all children have their own unique way of learning, and who incorporate children’s interests, individualize hands-on activities and make learning meaningful.

How do I schedule a tour?

  • We’re excited that you’re interested in our preschool. Email our Preschool Program Coordinator, Miche’l Fowler or call her at 404-785-6511 to schedule a tour.

Contact us

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. 

CoordinatorMiche’l Fowler, MA, CMFT

Director (DECAL): Michael Siller, PhD

Executive DirectorsLindee 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.