Early Learning Philosophy

Welcome to the Matthew Reardon Early Learning Academy!

Four years ago, we discovered the Walden School at Emory University in Decatur, an early learning center reputed with 20+ years of excellence in promoting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development in very young children. We are excited to bring this nationally-renowned preschool model to the Matthew Reardon Early Learning Academy (MRELA) beginning in August, 2019.

Our Learning Philosophy

My grandfather used to say that “a child’s PLAY is his WORK!” At the Early Learning Academy, we agree. We believe that children learn best when having fun. “Lessons”, whether indoors or outdoors, are led by experienced teachers and include defined activity centers that provide hands-on opportunities for art, science and sensory play, books, puzzles, math and literacy materials in a setting that encourages social interaction, creativity, large and small motor development, and exploratory learning. Teacher-directed and child-selected activities engage the minds and bodies of children who learn HOW to think, not just WHAT to think.

We at the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism became interested because the Walden Early Childhood Program incorporates children with autism into the regular classroom while providing a superior learning environment for typical children. A primary goal of Walden is to help children with autism learn typical behaviors from their classmates. This is accomplished by maintaining a minimum typical to autistic child ratio of 2 to 1 and providing needed therapeutic interventions within the classroom setting. Yet, research has demonstrated that both groups of students reap tremendous benefits from the Walden environment.

Of the children who completed the Walden Program at Emory, 90% of those with autism moved on to attend general education Kindergarten-5 and 92% left with functional verbal language skills. Additionally, the typical children entered kindergarten at much higher reading levels.1

According to parents, though, the most valued outcome of the program is the advanced social skills their children developed while at Walden. Leadership, empathy and organizational skills commonly developed among the children has made the Walden School a successful prototype that has been replicated across the country. Walden founder, Dr. Gail McGee, serves as consultant at the Early Learning Academy, ensuring that her successful model is implemented and maintained, ensuring every child’s success.

1(Emory Report on the Walden Early Childhood Program)

Our Purposes:

  • To provide an exceptional educational and developmental environment for children
  • To promote social, emotional, physical and intellectual development in every child
  • To offer support and early childhood parent education to families, especially to those affected by autism
  • To serve as a laboratory research and internship site for Early Childhood, Education and Behavioral Science Programs at GA Southern and Savannah State Universities.

Apply to the Matthew Reardon Early Learning Academy.