The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Joining Pathfinder School

Pre-Kindergarten - 8th Grade

We're so happy that you are interested in The Pathfinder School as a possibility for your child's education.

Since 1972, The Pathfinder School has been endowing children with the joy of learning. Our students value learning as a lifelong pursuit, delight in imagination and discovery, develop social skills and solid friendships. They build a foundation of knowledge, fostering intellectual stimulation and analytical skills to become contributing members of society.

Pathfinder offers an engaging curriculum, outstanding teachers and the principle of learning by doing. Our curriculum is designed to move children seamlessly from early childhood into the teen-years, with every step of the way choreographed to kindle the natural inquisitiveness of young minds. We want our children to analyze and question what they see and hear. We want them to form their own assessment of the validity of those understandings. We want them not just to comprehend, but also to experience science, mathematics, history and language.
We encourage these behaviours by incorporating music, physical arts, dance and creative writing. This also instills an appreciation for the arts.

We recognize that each child is different. Each child learns in different ways, enjoys different things and excels within his or her own realm. We have the class sizes that allow us to understand, nurture and respond to those differences. There is a broad base of research that supports our methods--and we employ them not only because they are valid in theory, but also because we know they are valid in practice. All pedagogy aside, however, the Pathfinder difference is the personalized approach used by our special faculty that makes learning come alive in the classroom and in nature every day. We love the children and they know it. We earn their respect each day as they learn to respect themselves, each other and the values of civility and stewardship that are cornerstones of our learning community. We also spend quality time working together as a team, encouraging all children to use their compassion, understanding and open mind when collaborating with their classmates on projects, sports teams and artistic presentations. Our sense of family at Pathfinder is strong as is the respect we ask each of our community members - students, parents & faculty-  to have for one another.

Listening to our eighth grade students at their graduation is an exhilarating experience. Whether they are presenting a personal reflection, reading poetry they have written, singing, dancing or performing with musical instruments, it is hard to imagine that these mature and poised individuals are still young teenagers. They are informed, of course—but they are also confident without conceit, comfortable with themselves and others and able to express themselves with insight far beyond their years. It is a remarkable combination of knowledge, humility, civility and grace.

We are proud of our history and traditions. We are proud of our graduates. We are proud of the recognition our faculty and students receive. Moreover, we are proud of what we do every day: helping children grow, learn, and discover their own best selves.

Come join our community of dedicated teachers, involved and committed parents, and our broad spectrum of wonderful children!

Please explore our web site. To get more information or schedule a tour, please contact our Main Office - 231.995. 3800 or

We look forward to getting to know you and your child!


"Children blossom and grow, learn and flourish here under the caring guidance of dedicated, professional teachers."

- Parent, grade 6