In the US, children attend school about 180 days a year for an average of 6.8 hours each day. From the time they begin Kindergarten until they graduate from high school, this amounts to approximately 12,240 school hours. Choosing how, and where, their children will spend these school hours is one of the biggest decisions many parents will make.
A recent conversation with Tom Handling (‘97), a Tatnall alumni and physical therapist who owns a practice in the area, and his wife Kate, a freelance graphic artist and website designer, reveals why Tatnall was the right choice for their family.
“Our oldest son Will started at Tatnall in Kindergarten,” says Kate. “Huck and Jett followed, starting in PK3 Early Childhood. Tom is a Tatnall alum, but I’m from Pennsylvania. Delaware is very interesting and offers a lot of different choices. I wanted to explore all the (school) options before making a decision.”
For Tom, the answer was clear.
“I always wanted our boys to go to Tatnall,” he says. “But I supported Kate in wanting to look at a variety of schools both public and private.”
“Tom and I met at the University of Delaware, and I always admired his studying habits and drive to succeed,” says Kate. “He credited Tatnall with instilling a strong work ethic in him from a very young age.
“Balance is very important to me,” she adds. “We needed to find a school with strong academics where our boys would learn to be well-mannered, diligent students, but also a place that would let kids be kids. We were looking for a partner to help guide and shape our boys’ future. When we toured Tatnall, it 100% stood out in that respect.”
That tour proved to be a happy walk down memory lane for Tom.
“I can still remember the first tour we took with Will,” he shares. “It brought back so many memories for me and it was great to see the changes around campus as well. They’ve done an amazing job on the outdoor space, it’s nice to see them expand on the natural environment that is so integral to the Tatnall experience.”
The outdoor space was a selling point for Kate too.
“The incredible outdoor campus is like nothing we saw at other schools,” she explains. “Tatnall was definitely the best decision for our family. The teachers have embraced each of our boys’ individual personalities and encourage them to learn every day through exploration and play.
“I felt especially lucky to have the boys at Tatnall this past year during COVID,” Kate continues. “The school really stepped up. They were well organized, and the teachers went above and beyond. Our boys didn’t notice a difference from a normal year. They spent so much of their time outside. Every day when I would pick them up they would get in the car and say, ‘Today was a great day!’”
“The school’s safety protocols were great and communication to parents was wonderful,” adds Tom. “And the new Head of School, Andy Martire, has been an excellent addition. His door has always been open to me via email and phone calls.
“I have zero regrets about the decision,” Tom continues. “My mom went to Tatnall and was an educator there for 23 years. My brother, cousins and other relatives also went there. I wanted our boys to head in that direction and I’m very happy that Kate felt the same way.”