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

children playing with water at marcus autism center

Our high teacher-to-student-ratio, as well as our personal approach to teaching, means we’re just as 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.
  • Has an open-door policy and works 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 have a classroom for 2 year olds and a classroom for 3 year olds. Our classroom for 4 year olds will open in August 2019.

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

  • Half-day program: 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Full-day program: 8:15 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

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 ways 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 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 their friend’s learning as well.


Enrollment is currently open.

  • The Early Preschool classroom serves children who 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 who are 3 years old on Sept. 1 of the respective school year.
  • The Pre-K classroom serves children who are 4 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 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.


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 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 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 pick up 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 pick up 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- or full-day schedule they have selected.

2019 School Calendar

  • 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.

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