We believe that time in nature is always well-spent, and that children's social-emotional well-being has ample space to expand in the great outdoors. Opportunities abound for building confidence and self-awareness by negotiating challenges with total engagement and loving guidance.
Our days' activities are inspired by natural cycles and rhythms of the seasons, and tend to be sparked by inquiry and curiosity: "Does the universe go on forever?"... "Let's build a forest playground here!"... "I want to make a conveyor belt for our fort!"... "I'm taking the hard way because it makes me stronger!" Kid-led projects are encouraged!
We offer a wide range of content, materials, and experiences to inspire learning. Our multilingual library emphasizes diversity, STEM, and environmental stewardship. Our process art invitations and 40+ acres of Vermont woodland provide a wide range of sensory experiences and opportunities for experimentation.
"New World Adventure School is a home childcare located on a remote country road in Springfield, Vermont. On the day of this scored observation, there were 4 children present, all within the age range for the CLASS Pre-K tool. Aimee Parnell, the owner/teacher uses a large, indoor classroom, outdoor classroom, and the home’s kitchen area for activities, lessons and routines.
The indoor and outdoor classrooms are well organized and skillfully-designed with a large variety of play and learning areas such as, building space; manipulatives; book areas; literacy; puzzles; dramatic play; art; games; science and nature; group and more. Aimee provides a child-centered program in a warm, responsive environment. She was always observed engaging positively with the children, and spent all of her time enhancing educational experiences.
Pleasant conversations were numerous, and it was apparent that literacy was highly regarded. Aimee circulated among the children during the entire observation, and they demonstrated engagement in all of the appealing activities. Behavioral expectations were proactive, appropriate, and Aimee always used positive strategies. Everyone expressed joy being with each other in this enriching, high-quality environment.
It was my pleasure visiting the New World Adventure School. Aimee provides meaningful early learning experiences in an environment where everyone feels happy and successful. This program achieved scores in the high ranges of the CLASS Pre-K assessment, which is reflective of this outstanding program. New World Adventure School is an exceptional asset to the community."
"As the mother of children with diagnoses, choosing the best place for your child to get their education can be daunting.
We wanted the “unicorn”; the place that would hold expectations that he would thrive and learn, while also being compassionate about his diverse needs and supports.
We found all of that with Aimee and The New World Adventure School.
Everyone who goes there will tell you that the child-led, nature based, Montessori style education is wonderful. Everyone who visits will extoll the virtues of the beautiful campus, and the gentle welcoming energy.
I will tell you that THE BEST part of this decision, for my family, was Aimee’s ability to be an “emotional doula” for the kiddos (ok, and maybe their adults now and again). Her use of yoga and mindfulness, to teach them how to regulate and process their feelings, has come in handy at home on many occasions.
The way that she encourages the kids to be their best selves, and encourages the celebration of their personal victories (ie: our little with gross motor delays worked very hard throughout the school year- and finally climbed to the top row of the climbing dome!!).
The way she facilitates problem solving when disputes arise (and doesn’t jump in and “fix the problem” for them).
The way she lets them find something they are passionate about, and follows them on a journey to learn everything about it.
They way that she keeps parents/caregivers in the loop with a detailed daily report at the end of every day (so, when you have the dinner discussion, and your kid says “fine” and “nothing” to the “how was your day” and “what did you do” questions). I can now read the report before dinner/bedtime and ask about specific things, and see the energy and delight come back as he tells me about it.
The lack of judgement about our family dynamic, our need to use a subsidy, or our social/economic backgrounds has been astounding.
Our 5 year old LOVES to get up and go to school in the morning, and he is NOT a morning person.
I could keep saying great things about this program, it has helped our little in so many ways. If you have the opportunity to send your kiddo here, I would definitely recommend it."
"We found this preschool after moving to the area in the middle of the school year and put our 5-year-old in right away. The teacher is caring and kind, with a gentle, easygoing demeanor. The class is interest-led, which means my daughter comes home full of excitement over what she learned each day. I’m so impressed with how the teacher works STEM based learning into each subject. The kids spend a lot of time outside every day, and every evening I read the teacher’s daily report about what happened in class and how they handled it. We’re loving this school.."
Aimee Parnell is our director and learning facilitator. She has been working as an educator for nearly three decades. Her debut into the world of education came at age 13, when (much to her parents’ dismay) she planned a weeklong summer camp at her house for the neighborhood children whom she babysat. As a teenager, she often volunteered in her mom’s preschool classroom, and while at university, she was a youth softball coach, and a chaperone for her mom’s high school French class’s field trips to Paris.
Aimee graduated with honors from Northern Arizona University with a B.A. in Psychology, worked as a one-on-one aide for children with special needs living in foster care, then earned a K-6 teaching credential from San Diego State University, with an emphasis in multicultural education. In 2003, she enlisted in the Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Volunteer, partnering with local teachers in Gabon, Africa, to develop culturally relevant, localized teaching materials and lessons for their classrooms.
Aimee’s education work in Central Africa continued for over a decade with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Gabon Sea Turtle Partnership, and as an independent consultant. By the time she passed on the baton, the teams she led grew their annual sea turtle family festival from a single rural school to a country-wide event with over two thousand children and their families participating each year.
Along the way, Aimee also became a yoga instructor, worked as a graphic designer, muralist, documentary filmmaker, French/English translator; she designed and directed an eco-remodel for a local hotel, was a fixer for a Hollywood film crew, and was part of the team that helped to raise and successfully release an orphaned West African Manatee - a first for the species. Adventure is in her nature.
Storytime in Malembé village.
With Laddie, from Rina Nzala village.
Helping a student remember his lines in the 2006 Environment Day play.
Play-based environmental education, in Mayumba, Gabon, 2004.
A sea turtle conservation mural in Aimee's Peace Corps village, Mayumba.
Interpreting for South African documentary filmmaker Kingsley Holgate.
Aimee taught preschool at a licensed Vermont parent child center from 2018-2020, and was the lead teacher for the Pre-Kindergarten 4s and 5s classroom during a colleague's five month maternity leave before deciding to forge a new path for early education in her area by establishing the New World Adventure School.
Throughout the year, Aimee takes part in professional development programs, aimed at expanding and improving teaching skills. She is a lifelong learner who is constantly researching ways to evolve into a more effective educator and good human. For more than 20 years, her personal philosophy has been: “Spread Sunshine, and Cultivate Kindness.”
Aimee's goal is to help spark your children’s curiosity about cultures, ecosystems, and the infinite wonders of our universe. She is inspired by the Agile Learning Center and Montessori models and draws from both in her approach to education. Fundamentally, Aimee aligns with Maria Montessori's exhortation to "Follow the Child", and with the roots of agile learning:
The soil we grow from is trust: in students, in each other, in you. The four assumptions—roots—which ground us are as follows:
Our farm is at the trailhead to the summit of Mt. Ephraim, in Springfield, Vermont. Miles and miles of trails that were once stagecoach roads, and before that, Abenaki paths, beckon just beyond the garden gate. Our little adventurers explore, map, and help caretake a home range. There are boulders to climb, stick forts to be built, wild blackberries to gather, and hills to race down. A few weeks into the semester, the children are leading the hikes, because they know just where they want to go.
Our indoor learning space is a tranquil, spacious yoga studio with sunny yellow walls and big south-facing windows, adjacent to the kitchen in our 1810 brick farmhouse. During the school year, it becomes an emporium of tinkering invitations, tiny natural curiosities, and an abundance of handwork supplies. We've got a cozy corner for resting, snug nooks for reading, and enough room to play a good game of The Floor Is Lava when temperatures are too icy. During favorable weather, traditionally indoor pursuits tend to migrate to our sunny, south-facing deck, or out into the woods and meadows surrounding our farmhouse.
CAST - Until Learning Has No Limits
Vinnie is a registered emotional support animal. This snuggly guy waits by the window most mornings, waiting for his friends to arrive.
Goal-setting, tinkering, potion-making, and many other creative endeavors are ready to happen anytime, with everything we need at our fingertips.
Built in 1810 by two brothers, our brick Federal farmhouse was once an inn on the stage road from Brockways Mills to Springfield. It is listed in the Historic Homes of Springfield, Vermont, and was for many years a sheep farm.
Wide open spaces abound, with expansive views over the Connecticut River Valley and beyond. Birdsong, spring peepers, the hush of snowfall, and the occasional rumble of a tractor plowing a field compose our soundscape.
Step 1: Research
Read about the ALC model and browse through their comprehensive FAQ page. Familiarize yourself with the Alliance for Self-Directed Education’s “What is SDE?” content. Visit their Resources page to dive deeper into articles, videos, books and organizations.
Step 2: Get in touch with our director for more information if needed.
Step 3: Complete a Visiting Week (if joining mid-year)
A visiting week is designed to allow a student who is joining us after the year is in process to experience what it is like to be at New World Adventure School, for the family to get a feel for a new rhythm and to help us all gauge whether we are a good match for each other. To sign up for a visiting week, please complete our application and submit it in pdf form to: email@example.com, or by mail to:
New World Adventure School 689 Massey Road
Springfield, VT 05156
Visiting weeks include an end-of-week debrief with the parent/guardian(s), Facilitators and student. Visiting weeks are $235 for one student, $350 for two students, or $500 for three students.
Step 4: Determine Tuition
Mid-year enrollment is prorated based on your student's start date. Tuition is based on the number of days per week your child attends our program. We are a microschool program that enrolls a maximum of six students per day. In order to support the financial sustainability of our program, enrollment priority will be given to 5 day per week students, then to students whose days are complementary to each other for the remaining available days. Special consideration will be given to siblings of 5 day per week students.
Program costs for the 2021-2022 school year (10-month billing cycle, September-June):
2 Days per week: $4,250/yr. ($425/mo.) - 62 days (Tuesday/Thursday)
3 Days per week: $6,750/yr. ($675/mo.) - 105 days (Monday/Wednesday/Friday)
4 Days per week: $8,500/yr. ($850/mo.) - 140 days
5 Days per week: $11,000/yr. ($1100/mo.) - 175 days
We are currently working toward eligibility for Act 166 (public Pre-K funding).
We recognize that an offer of financial assistance may be an important factor in your decision to enroll your child at New World Adventure School. Your family may be eligible for Bright Futures Tuition Assistance - you can find the application at https://dcf.vermont.gov/childcarefinancialhelp?fbclid=IwAR1k_l5W0-QD_BIWaz7lFMrKJAOM3EuPwtQ-txvqVwLy6AVbfD6Xr1ejAnQ
Step 5: Finalize
Please complete our application form and return to New World Adventure School with a check for the $25 application fee. You will receive notification of your child’s placement by mid-June. If accepted, families submit their remaining enrollment documents and pay an enrollment deposit of $200 by July 15 to retain their child’s space for the coming school year. Your deposit will be applied to your final month's tuition. Once enrolled in the program, you will have priority for retaining that space until your child ages out of our program.