The Gardner School
of Midtown- Nashville

The Gardner School is proud to offer our award-winning services to the children and families that live and work in the downtown/midtown Nashville area. Located at 1811 State Street near the Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, our multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art facility opened in November of 2011. This year, we achieved the highest honor of a 3 Star Rating in Tennessee's Star-Quality Program!

As a private, academically focused Nashville preschool that specializes in early childhood education, we cater to those families that want the best for their child. At our Midtown campus, we offer year-round educational programs for full and part-time childcare for children six weeks old through private Pre-Kindergarten. In addition, we provide a full suite of enrichment classes and our summer camp, Camp Gardner.

Enrichment Programs Offered

computer

Be Smart Computers

For Ages: 18 Months +
language

Spanish

For Ages: 18 Months +
gymnastics

Gymnastics

For Ages: 18 Months +
dance

Dance

For Ages: 2 Years +
runner

Amazing Athletes

For Ages: 2 Years +
karate

Kid Balanced Karate

For Ages: 3 Years +
music-drama

Music/Drama

For Ages: 3 Years +

Midtown- Nashville Campus Leadership

Lauren McConnell
School Director

How long have you been with TGS? 
Since October 2014

Roles Served with TGS: 
I trained as an Assistant Director at The Gardner School of Midtown in October of 2014 for a few weeks then became the second Assistant Director at The Gardner School of Franklin. In July 2017, I was promoted to the Executive Director role at The Gardner School of Midtown.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Ecology with a concentration in Child Development and Family Relations through Tennessee Technological University. I’ve also been working with children of various age groups since 2008.

What made you decide to have a career in education?
I have always been passionate about teaching others and learning from them as well.

What makes you laugh about kids?
I can always count on their honesty to make me laugh at any time of the day! 

What do you love most about working with infants through the age of 5?

I love how each age group reminds us what it’s like to be happy with the simple things in life. I smile when they smile and laugh when they laugh.

What is your favorite part of the day at TGS?
Actively engaging with the families and children every day.

What do you love most about TGS?
It has become my second home. We are a very strong unit that provides a fun and safe learning environment for the children.

What is your fondest memory of TGS thus far?
My very first day! Everyone was very warm and welcoming. That’s when I knew I’d found my “home” at TGS.

What is the funniest thing you have ever heard come out of the mouth of a TGS Student?
One of the four year olds told me he broke the ice off of his dad's car with his strong muscles after the ice storm.

What inspires you?
Children inspire me to think outside of the box and to remember that there are endless opportunities to learn every day.

What is your passion or passions?
Working with people, learning from them, being a resource for people, and helping them achieve their goals.

What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you?
It’s never too early to begin learning!

How important is early childhood education?
It’s extremely important to build a strong educational foundation early on, so the child becomes increasingly confident in their ability to do anything they set their minds to.

What would you tell new parents who are apprehensive about leaving their infant in the care of someone else for the first time?
This is the first step in building the foundation that is necessary for their child to thrive. Our staff provides all of the love and care to create a positive and warm environment for their children to grow.

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Allison Pickel
Assistant Director

How long have you been with TGS? 
Since July 2014

Roles Served with TGS: 
Office and Support staff, Administrative Assistant Director

What is your educational background?
B.A. in History and Art; taught environmental and outdoor education for 4 years before becoming Assistant Coordinator for the Coosa River Science School in Alabama for 3 years. I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year and summer, and then made my way back south to work at TGS!

What made you decide to have a career in education? 
I have been teaching since I was 13 years old – piano and art lessons – and have always loved it. I never planned on entering the field of education,  but it fell into my lap while helping to design artwork and displays at an Environmental Education facility in East Tennessee. I loved what they were teaching and how they were teaching and have been in education ever since.

What makes you laugh about kids?
What they say and their observations about life – they are so genuine!

What do you love most about working with infants through the age of 5? 
Watching and experiencing how rapidly all the learning, changing and growing they do. Working with mainly older students (3rd -12th grade) I missed seeing this happen, but with this age range, they are always learning or discovering something new about themselves and the world around them.

What is your favorite part of the day at TGS? 
Getting to cuddle the infants ☺ and the interaction with the families at pick-up and drop-off times. That’s when I feel those meaningful moments happen for me, since I don’t interact in the classrooms with families – greeting them, finding out how their day was, and learning a bit more about their families.

What do you love most about TGS? 
The classroom support that teachers are given. Even though I’m not a teacher I know what a struggle it was in the classroom and how you often felt like you had no support. I love how TGS gives a monthly stipend to their teachers to spend on the classroom -- that there are floaters to have time to work on lesson plans and give teachers the opportunity to go to the bathroom, and when there is a child that has a strong personality there is help from others. 

What is your fondest memory of TGS thus far?
I don’t believe I have one exact one, but a culmination of them: I have one friend who refuses to leave school without hugging me, I have an alumni of TGS who visits with me while his younger brother is picked up, I have been given a lollypop by a girl on Valentine’s Day who has been extremely shy, and learning that when the children go home they pretend to be “Ms. Lauren” and “Ms. Allison” and mimic what they see here at the school.

What is the funniest thing you have ever heard come out of the mouth of a TGS Student?
Walking into a classroom a Pre-K student looked at me and said, “What are you doing here? You belong at the desk.”

What inspires you?
At TGS – when a parent comes to me and compliments or gives a kudos to one of our teachers. I love it when our teachers are successful. Life in general - being outdoors.

What is your passion or passions?
Meeting new and prospective families and building a relationship with them. 

What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you? 
Learning begins the moment you enter our doors -- beginning with learning how to communicate “Hi” or “Good morning” when you see another person, and continuing throughout their time at TGS, whether its months or years. While we are an academically based preschool, I also feel our learning extends to life lessons and how we relate to others and the world around us.

How important is early childhood education? 
Extremely important, especially if the parents plan on sending their child to kindergarten in a structured environment. The transition from home to school can be brutal for some children, especially if it first happens at kindergarten, and TGS has developed ways for that transition to be gradual and less frightening. Also, many superintendents and principles have acknowledged that children who come from a background of socializing with other children, having self-confidence and self-help skills, and having respect for adults in authority excel better in kindergarten then those who have not – all of these are aspects that happen at TGS.

What would you tell new parents who are apprehensive about leaving their infant in the care of someone else for the first time? 
Our teachers strive to give all children a nurturing, caring, and growing environment. They are passionate about their work and their roles in each family’s daily life through taking care of the children in their classroom. All of our lead teachers have 4 year degrees, have undergone background and fingerprint checks and are first aid and CPR certified. Beyond that they also have experience in early childhood education so they are knowledgeable in areas such as nutrition and developmental milestones. They plan every child’s day uniquely for that child and ensure that each child receives the love and care they need to grow.

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Tip Souksanh
Assistant Director

How long have you been with TGS? 
Since November 2014

Roles Served with TGS:
Twos lead teacher, Pre-K teacher, and Assistant Director

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Science from Union University.

What made you decide to have a career in education?
I've always loved learning and working with children. What a better way to continually learn than being a teacher?

What makes you laugh about kids?
The silly things they say sometimes.

What do you love most about TGS?
Getting to know the teachers, children and their families!

What inspires you?
The drive and passion I see in others makes me strive to do more.

What is your passion or passions?
I am passionate about providing children with a warm and welcoming environment where they can learn and grow.

What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you? 
Learning begins the moment a child walks into our building. We lay the foundation to their learning as they continue to grow.

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