The story of TCS begins in 1964 with Margaret Skutch and the founding of what was originally called The Montessori School of Stamford. From the start, the school believed that young children had an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn. What they needed was a warm, orderly learning environment that would allow them to reach their potential while nurturing their self-respect.
Blending the ideas of Montessori, Piaget, Dewey and other educational visionaries, The Children’s School created a program that supported and challenged children’s ability to think, problem-solve and express themselves. It further distinguished itself by designating an individualized learning program for each child to account for his or her developmental stage and talents. The school’s founder, Margaret Skutch, authored two books, To Start a School and Taking Children Seriously, that explain the school’s unique approach to educating young children.
In 1966, a grant from the Educational Facilities Laboratory allowed the school to construct and move into a new building, one designed exclusively for the education of young children. The Ford Foundation was so impressed with the building’s design that it commissioned a film, Room to Learn, to document its innovations.
The Children’s School continued to refine its model for early childhood education while its renown grew nationwide. Growing prominence in the field was due not only to its innovative building but also to the excellence of its teaching staff, its role as a center for teacher training and professionalism, and its novel use of technology in the classroom.
From an early partnership with MIT to teach robotics in the classroom to today’s use of tablet and personal computers, the school has long embraced cutting-edge technologies in order to enrich its learning environment. In 2004, The Children’s School received a Leading Edge in Technology award from the National Association of Independent Schools for its work in documenting and assessing each student’s learning with video portfolios.
In 2007, the school opened one of the first LEED-certified “green” buildings in Connecticut. This state-of-the-art early learning environment shifted the paradigm and encouraged bold thinking about school design in the field of architecture. The new building is designed to take full advantage of the natural light and air of its surroundings, and the open nature of the building allows it to serve as a tool for learning about sensitively inhabiting the natural environment. The renovated campus provides children with more space to express themselves in the Art Barn, sing and dance in the music room, and browse in the library before finding a quiet nook in which to read.
The school’s unique design has been honored with many awards, including Design Share, a global program to support the design of innovative learning environments. The school community takes pride in having created an environment for children—both inside and out—that speaks to their curiosity and desire to learn. In the half-century since The Children’s School was founded, its commitment to providing children with the very best learning experience not only endures, but is thriving.