Shana, a TALS Teacher, has worked as a public & private
school educator, camp counselor, scout leader and
classroom volunteer for the past 15 yrs. Shana's immense
respect for children's unique capabilities, natural curiosity &
personal learning styles has informed her appreciation for
child centered, hands on learning. Shana holds an
undergraduate degree from Salisbury University and
graduate degree from Towson University, both in early
childhood education. Continuous study of the Reggio Emilia
schools' model, experiential education and project approach,
cultivates Shana's passion and expertise for creating
intentional and responsive learning environments where all
children are honored, celebrated and provided space to
prosper and thrive.
Activity Specialist and teacher, Michael (Mike), has had the
great fortune to fill most of his days with work and play
along side children and their families. While working his way
through college to obtain a degree in Business/Accounting,
he discovered his passion for working outdoors and with
children. Through his extensive background in creating,
teaching and leading a variety of camps and youth
programs-he helps create wonderful opportunities for
students attending the TALS Education Program. He is
dedicated- helping children grow, utilizing the outdoors and
the “teachable moments” that we encounter every day.
Founder, Education Director & Teacher, Georgia has
her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and
undergraduate degrees from SOSU in Theater & Music.
Georgia has enjoyed teaching, creating, developing &
implementing a multitude of programs for children and
families for many years. She has also been fortunate
to travel to Reggio Emilia twice for short, study abroad
experiences to help better grasp the important work
being done there within the community and amongst
educators from all around the world. Georgia is seeking
to create an Annapolis Learning Collaborative (ALC), a
professional community for early childhood educators.
Georgia Strawbridge- Theater/Music/Recreation/M.Ed
Shana Tooley- M.Ed/Early Childhood Education
Freaquently Asked Questions
How does the wait list work? How long is it?
We are currently enrolling, please call to find out about specific openings! However, if a class or specific day is fully
enrolled, we maintain a list of families who have submitted an application. Families provide some basic information
including their contact information, age of their child, the date they would like to enroll. We will then contact families on
the wait list as spaces become available. If the opening is a good fit for the family, we begin the enrollment process. If
the family asks us to do so, we keep them on our list for future openings
Currently enrolled children and siblings of currently enrolled children have priority status when it comes to enrollment
openings. Before we look at the wait list for candidates for our openings, we offer days to our current families to ensure
all of our currently enrolled families are satisfied with their schedules.
If I start my child part-time, would I be able to add more days as s/he gets older?
We try to accommodate our part time families as spots open. If you are interested in adding a day or two, please let us
know and we will certainly give you more days as they become available.
What are your group sizes, and ratios of adults to children?
Our ratios depend on the age of the children in the group
Preschoolers, ages 3 – 5 years old; capacity: 8; child-to-teacher ratio: 8:1
Preschoolers, ages 3- 5 years old; capacity: 12; child-to-teacher ratio: 6:1
Does TALS follow a certain curriculum?
Current research demonstrates that children learn best through having hands on experiences in order to explore, build,
create and experiment. TALS views each child as a unique individual with his or her own pattern and timing of growth
and development. At TALS, curriculum is emergent- which means that teachers plan experiences and activities based
on the themes of interest that emerge from the children’s play. This designed, flexible inquiry-based curriculum
approach provides a conceptual framework allowing children to build on their prior knowledge and experience.
Additionally, teachers use a project approach in planning curriculum. In working collaboratively on projects that relate to
what the children are interested in exploring- children develop academic competencies. Through play, small group
instruction, dialogue, journaling, reflection, documentation, and exploration-the love of learning comes alive in math,
science, the arts, language, reading, writing, technology, and the environment. TALS incorporates tenets of Creative
Curriculum & MSDE common core curriculum guideposts, aspects of the Writing Without Tears curriculum, and infuses
components of Reggio Emilia, and Responsive Classroom. Our goal is to create a child-centered environment that
fosters positive self-esteem, critical thinking, problem solving skills, and an enthusiasm for learning.
What is Documentation?
We reflect on what is happening in the classroom through child created story books, recorded conversations, teachers’
written observations, children’s work, journals, an annual class portfolio and documentation panels that narrate the
journey of an idea explored over time.
Should my child enter the early-Kindergarten program in an elementary school?
TALS’s pre-K program will academically and socially prepare students for the rigors of a kindergarten classroom. Many
families choose a private early Kindergarten option for their children if they are wanting 1) A smaller class size, 2) An
emergent and constructive curriculum that meets all children's learning needs, and 3) a strong foundation for later
What do you do about biting/hitting/aggression? What is your discipline policy?
At TALS, it is our goal to support children’s emerging self-control, self-esteem, and respect for others. We focus on
acknowledging children’s positive behaviors in order to encourage self-confidence, collaboration, and problem solving.
Teachers communicate developmentally appropriate classroom expectations and set clear, fair and consistent limits for
children’s behavior. TALS’s teachers model respect by treating children with gentleness, positive regard and
consistency at all times. Under no circumstances do TALS’s teachers use intimidation or shame as guidance strategies.
Do you accept children in diapers or training pants?
Children must be potty trained in order to attend. TALS is not licensed to change diapers or “pull-ups” trainer pants, and
children are asked/expected to wear regular undergarments while attending.
Do you prepare meals and snacks for the children or do we bring our own? If you
make the food, can you accommodate a special diet?
We provide the children healthy snacks to honor their growing bodies. The children help make some of the food they
eat. We find the experience of helping with the cooking creates enthusiasm about food that may otherwise be met with
resistance. We try our very best to buy fresh fruits and veggies and foods low in sugar and artificial colors however do
occasionally make not ‘perfectly healthy’ snacks & treats. We also try to eat seasonally to honor the relationship
between the rhythm of our bodies and the rhythm of the natural world.
If children have special diets for any reason– allergies, family preference, religious beliefs, etc.- we ask families to
provide food items needed to substitute for our regular snack/cooking project- items. In some cases, TALS can work with
families whose children have common diet restrictions (dairy/wheat allergy, vegan) by making some simple substitutions
to fit the child’s needs.
We are a nut-free program and we ask that families do not bring foods with nut ingredients into our school.