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Sandy Hill Nursery School


Established in 1966, Sandy Hill is a parent cooperative pre-school which unites family participation and teacher expertise in a natural setting. Our play-based philosophy supports children as they explore and learn while building self-esteem. We endeavor to provide all our children with a responsive, nurturing, and stimulating environment in which they can reach their full potential as happy, competent, and productive human beings.




Unique because it is alternative education at the nursery school level

  • more than a school

  • extended family

  • community

  • a network of people who share a common philosophy of education


Because of the setting

  • a natural playground

  • hands-on laboratory for nature and science exploration

  • fits in beautifully with our child-centered program which allows for exploration


Because we have a child-centered program – philosophy

  • letting children be children

  • allowing children the time and space and freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own style

  • without adult goals

  • letting children create and define their own experience

  • offering experiences which are appropriate for each developmental level

  • room for individual styles – individually reinforced positively

  • open-ended activities – environment


Goals for the Program

  • For children to grow in a holistic way – socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively: “whole child”

  • For children to become self-motivated learners

  • For children to discover and develop their own creativity

    • artistically

    • cognitively

  • Focus on emotional growth

    • to help children acknowledge and deal constructively with their feelings – positive and negative

  • Focus on social growth

    • to help children learn to communicate effectively with adults and peers

    • to respect their own needs and those of others and learn to negotiate


Sandy Hill is a Co-op


Sandy Hill is not in the mainstream of preschool education because today’s parents often do not have the time and/or the inclination to get involved

  • Sandy Hill believes academic learning is developmentally inappropriate

  • children learn experimentally

  • touching, seeing, doing

  • children need to be personally involved


Being presented with concepts which are beyond one’s developmental level puts pressure on children and has negative impact on self-esteem in the event of failure

Push for early academics reflects the larger cultural values of competitive job market


Relationship with the Fellowship

We value the site tremendously for reasons already presented. It is important to our program, but the relationship is deeper than that – we care about the property

  • educational value

  • aesthetic value

  • emotional value – we do not simply use the land


Values in common

  • although Sandy Hill has no political affiliation, it is an organization of people who are dedicated to the well-being of children and are therefore dedicated to world peace and cooperation among all peoples

  • a value that is modeled and reinforced in the classroom, as well as being part of the philosophy on which Sandy Hill was founded, is respect for the integrity of the individual

  • respect for the environment – Sandy Hill is a perfect place for children to learn to respect their natural world.

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