The Mountain School has two mixed-age preschool classrooms, the Hummingbird Nest and the Chickadee Nest. Both nests have two teachers and up to twenty-one children, aged two-years-and-nine-months to five years plus.
Children thrive within the anchoring consistency of a daily pattern. Each element of our school day, from the words and songs teachers use to the routines and rituals that help form good habits, is intentionally selected for greatest benefit to the child.
Our mornings begin with a circle of joyful song and movement fostering form, focus, and social cohesion.
Indoor Free Play
The children then transition to indoor free play. Activities draw on a child’s own imagination such as dressing up, playing house, building structures, and role-playing using natural materials and wooden toys. Some days incorporate activities such as watercolor painting, drawing, beeswax modeling, baking, and cooking. As a natural part of their play, the children are learning how to negotiate and problem-solve with their peers.
Clean-up time follows with everyone joining in. Practical tasks such as tidying the classroom and hand washing are fun when singing together in the nest.
At snack time children and teachers gather around a large round table and share delicious homemade, wholesome, organic, and vegetarian snacks, often prepared with the children’s help.
Outdoor play is next and the children are outside each day, rain or shine. Both classes enjoy an hour of being together, building, digging, swinging, and much more.
Some days, the teachers take the children on a guided walk in the neighborhood, supporting the development of our connection to nature.
Returning inside the children enjoy story time. Our teachers are master storytellers and, in the oral tradition, bring the stories from the world of fairytales and simple animal tales to life. In three-week cycles, the children hear the story being told by the teacher, see the story in a puppet show, and in the final week they perform a simple play of the story led by the teacher. This cycle of storytelling helps to develop a child’s inner-picturing skills and lays the foundation for reading comprehension.
The children end their mornings together with a lunch brought from home, eaten together at a communal table, with a helping of conversation, and a show of gratitude through an opening mealtime verse.
Children may be picked up at 1 pm or stay for our afternoon “Owls’ Nest” program with the earliest pick-up at 3:30 pm and the latest pick-up at 6:00 pm.
Our Afternoon Program is slower paced and includes rest time, snack, indoor/outdoor play, and arts and crafts activities.
School Year Calendar
We follow a September-to-June school-year calendar. School opens the day after Labor Day and ends in mid-June. Summer camp is offered during the first six weeks of summer break.