ELI’s Emerson School in Palo Alto is a private, nonsectarian institution for students from first grade through eighth grade. It takes an integrated approach to learning that builds on the classic foundations of Western civilization and addresses the future needs of students and their families. Philosophically and in practice, it maintains continuity with the preschool and kindergarten programs of the HeadsUp! child development centers.
Emerson’s reliance on an individualized pace for the development of basic skills means that individual progress is optimized and, in general, accelerated. Students are typically placed in groups spanning two to three years of age without grade distinctions. The multiage groupings make possible a program that is customized for each student, thereby accommodating a wide range learning styles and personalities.
Emerson incorporates subjects that are often ignored or neglected by other schools, such as foreign languages, art, music, movement and physical education, human values and cultures, interpersonal communications, and practical life skills such as cooking, recycling, and first aid. As with the centers, Emerson is a full-day program so all work is completed during the school day, leaving evenings for family interactions. The year-round schedule means that student progress is not lost during extended vacation periods and families have the flexibility to take vacations when work schedules and weather permit.