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Why is it important for children to have choices?

As children are growing up, it is important that they have ample opportunities to make choices, experience success and failure, and learn how to manage the outcomes and responsibilities. Self-efficacy and agency allow kids to make choices that directly impact their immediate environment. At Thrive Learning Center, children are given chances to make appropriate choices within the boundaries of remaining safe and respectful to self, others, and property. 

What are the benefits of multiage education?

There are many benefits of a multiage classroom.

  • Opportunity to be both learner & teacher with your peers.

  • It allows children to get the instruction, enrichment and intervention they need based on individual strengths & weaknesses rather than age.

  • It reduces the pressure to "keep up" with your peers because everyone is learning at a different pace. 

  • Children become influential members of the class community as they return year after year.

  • Children learn empathy and care for each other in a multiage classroom

What are the benefits of flexible learning?

Flexible learning allows children to dive deep into the subjects they are intrinsically motivated in. Essential skills such as reading and math facts are seen to have an essential purpose when they are grounded in an area of interest. Freedom of movement and scheduling allows for opportunities for students to practice self-regulation. Children are given the responsibility of time and schedule management, which is not afforded them in a traditional school. Being in a multiage environment teaches responsibility and living in community.

Do you offer a hybrid school option?

Our hybrid program is a partnership between parents and certified teachers. Curriculum and objectives are based on student's academic grade as well as student ability. Activities are planned by experienced teachers to meet the needs of the child. Children will attend 3-4 days of in person learning to gain social skills, supplemental learning, self-directed learning opportunities, and instruction in art and/or nature exploration. Parents will teach their children at home on days not in attendance with lessons planned by the teachers. All work will be returned to Thrive teachers. 

Thrive is not affiliated with any religion. We welcome all religious backgrounds, but we do not teach religious beliefs or affiliate with a religion.

How will I know my child is learning without standard grades?

Work projects demonstrating student learning are placed in a portfolio of student assignments and projects. These are used as part of a discussion with the child and parents twice during the school year. This takes the place of traditional report cards and parent teacher conferences.


Do you service students with special needs?

Can my child attend part time? What are your attendance requirements?

We value inclusion and service students with special needs on a case-by-case basis and ask to meet and discuss your child’s needs. We are aware that as a small learning community, we have limited resources needed to meet the needs of all types of special needs. We will work with families to meet the needs of an existing IEP put in place by a previous school within the resources that we have available.

Some students, such as those with anxiety related to previous school experiences or issues related to attention and executive functioning, benefit greatly from being in an alternative learning environment.

Yes, you may choose the days your child attends based on your family needs. They may attend 1-2 days per week if part time and not hybrid. We require you schedule them to attend the same days every week. 

Are you a religious learning center?

How will you assess students without standardized tests?

In structured learning time, students are a partner in choosing tasks that meet learning objectives and demonstrate understanding. Through these learning tasks, children receive regular feedback on projects, questions to consider, and opportunities to deepen understanding. These projects become part of a portfolio that demonstrates growth and learning over time. Student growth is measured personally and holistically and not by standardized tests.

Do you provide transportation?

Is Thrive Learning Center a nonpublic school?

Yes! For the 2023-2024 school year, Thrive Learning Center is registered as a nonpublic school with the Michigan Department of Education! 

What student records do you keep?

While we allow students to learn at their own pace and based on topics of interest, we still ensure that those in our hybrid program are meeting necessary benchmarks for their age in the event of a transition to a public or nonpublic school. These records are based on grade level objectives and are tracked on a mastery basis. This is done so parents have record of the work that the student has completed during their learning time.

What is a flexible soft start?

No, but we encourage families to connect with others in the Thrive community to explore options of carpooling.

Students and families need time to adjust to each morning. A flexible soft start allows families to drop kids off at a time that works best for their family. 

Once students arrive at school, we provide the opportunity to ease into the day, the same way adults do when they arrive to work. Soft start allows kids the chance to chat with friends, adjust to any feelings about the day, play creatively, and work on tasks of their choice. It also allows the teachers time to check in with students individually and build relationships.  Check out these resources for more information.

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As a learning center, Thrive Learning Center is funded through tuition and donations. We have an amazon wishlist if you would like to contribute!

Give students opportunities to try new things, take risks, get a little messy, and learn from it all. That cannot happen in a vacuum of control, but it can flourish in an environment filled with trust and agency.

Teacher Tonya Gilchrist

How will Thrive approach Covid-19 safety?

How is Thrive funded?

How does Thrive Learning Center fit in the Grand Rapids educational landscape?

We believe that there is not a single educational option or plan that meets the needs of every child and are committed to help you discover what this means for your family. We offer a blend between traditional structured learning opportunities and self-directed choice. Your partnership may look like full time enrollment at Thrive, part time enrollment at Thrive for socialization while homeschooling, hybrid instruction, or a consultation to discuss other options that exist in the area.

At Thrive Learning Center the health and safety of the children we serve is of the utmost importance to us.

We trust the scientific bodies who are making decisions regarding children and COVID 19.

​We will look to the recommendations of these bodies as we make decisions for our community during the school year.


The current recommendation for educational centers is that all individuals (two and up) wear masks, even if they are vaccinated. Those who are medically unable to wear a mask are exempt from this. 

We ask that if you or anyone in your household is not feeling well that you do not attend Thrive Learning Center. Also, if someone in your household has been exposed to our diagnosed with COVID -19 that you reach out to us so we can take the appropriate actions.

We believe that taking these steps shows love and care for our Thrive community.

What can we expect during this transition?

This transition will look different for every family joining us. If you’re coming from traditional school, the transition will take time for your child to adjust to an atmosphere with more freedom and choice. Generally, there is an “unschooling” process that happens when a child leaves traditional learning, usually the adjustment period is about a month for each year a child has spent in a traditional school.

We consider social and emotional growth, a sense of self, and a sense of belonging integral to the learning process. We know that social and emotional growth and development is an important part of a child’s development, and have planned a framework of social and emotional learning with a school counselor. This teaching will be communicated to you via newsletters.

How does Thrive address world events that happen?

Current events are discussed with children in a developmentally appropriate way, focussing on how students are feeling and giving space to talk and listen. At TLC we make an effort to “look for the helpers” and also to be the helpers in our community. Raising critical thinkers is incredibly important in our world and it takes time and sensitivity.

What does inclusion mean at Thrive Learning Center?

Thrive Learning Center is a place where all students are welcome and celebrated for their innate uniqueness. It is a space rooted in grace and compassion that practices intentional inclusivity. We practice this day to day with the inclusion of “own voices” literature, by using the Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework, and by welcoming in guest teachers that reflect the beautiful diversity of our city. TLC welcomes all regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or sexual orientation of the student or family.

How will Thrive address structural racism?

Racism and micro-racism is not tolerated at Thrive Learning Center. We recognize that everyone has a unique story, perspective, voice and history. As teachers, we recognize that there is a limit to our perspective and experiences. We partner with those from our community to bring voices and experiences diverse from ourselves into our school community.

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