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.
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.
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 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:
In Aimee's own words:
"Together, we will cultivate a learning community that is grounded in mindfulness, kindness, social justice, and environmental stewardship (with more than a dash of adventure!). I believe in children’s intrinsic abilities to be innovative, curious, and deeply engaged with their world. It is my greatest honor to witness and facilitate their journeys."
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.
Our microschool is seeking to enroll additional students for Fall 2021, to bring our total to six.
This cozy reading nook is a prime sunny spot in the afternoons...
It's just purrrrfect for curling up with a book!
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.