To engage students in experiences that integrate natural environments with the Montessori curriculum, igniting achievement in academic, social-emotional and physical development.
At MVCS, we believe that education is most effective when full attention is placed on meeting the needs of the whole child. A child’s full potential – physical, intellectual, social and emotional - can be realized through the exploration of the environment. By developing patterns of concentration and teaching attention to detail at an early age , we will produce confident, competent learners in later years. By embracing the Montessori philosophy and nature-based practices in our approach to education, we believe that engaging our students in child-centered and project- oriented learning will spark innate curiosity, nurture inner discipline and foster the child’s motivation to learn.
We believe in creating a welcoming and nurturing environment for students from a diversity of backgrounds, skills, challenges, and needs. We foster a culture of respect, individuality and celebration of diversity of all kinds.
We believe in the vital importance of encouraging in children a sense of respect and stewardship for the natural world and for all the inhabitants of the earth. To this end we believe a nature- based curriculum offers unlimited opportunities to create a dynamic learning environment that integrates science and math, history and social studies, languages and art. In an environmentally literate learning community, students will develop the skills, knowledge, and inclinations to make well-informed choices and to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a diverse world community
We believe in offering individual work plans that encourage children to assume their full share of the responsibility for their own learning. We believe in promoting experiences where students create and develop real-world projects that enable them to apply new skills across content areas and to develop leadership skills.
We believe in allowing children to take as much time as they need to master a skill and move on to the next concept when they are ready. We believe in providing materials and lessons that appeal to a variety of learning styles. We believe in fostering creativity and curiosity in children, leading to the development of critical thinking and problem- solving skills.
In 2012, a group of parents, community members and educators identified a need for educational options that promote deep connections between students and the natural world. Inspired by the Forest Kindergarten movement in Europe the board began to envision a school that combined the student-centered approach of Montessori with extensive, immersive time spent outdoors. Additionally, board members were committed to a democratic and economically equitable educational model, a public, non-tuition school.
Through a long process of research, discussion and writing, the board produced the framework for a new type of school: a Public, Nature-based, Montessori school for Elementary and Middle School students. Mountain Village Charter School is the first public school in the US (possibly the world) to combine these elements and make them accessible to all.
In July 2013, the board received a charter and in November, MVCS was awarded a $509,000 federal start up grant. We opened on August 20, 2014 with 38 1st-3rd graders, documented by NHPR. The entire first two weeks of the school were held completely out of doors, with beautiful open-air classroom spaces and teaching materials by the side of a little creek, under the canopy of sugar maples, beeches, hemlocks and birches. It was a fitting start for a Nature-Based Montessori school.
In the first four years of our charter, we have crafted a curriculum that blends the best of Maria Montessori’s teaching with the growing movement of nature based education, and tailored it to our forest and watershed campus, creating outdoor classrooms, nature trails, and play spaces. We have added a grade each year, doubling our enrollment to 66 students; we will add seventh and eighth grades in the next two years.
Simultaneous with the school’s daily operations, the board of trustees has engaged in a long-term visioning and strategizing process focused on the school’s near and distant future. Central to this effort has been the eventual construction of a school facility that reflects the function and mission of the school. Using some of the federal start-up funds we contracted with an architectural design firm to lead a process of facility design, producing a beautiful and achievable net-zero building design. A capital campaign is in its early phases to enable the purchase of the land the school is currently on, and to assist with building construction. When the school has accumulated enough capital for these steps, a federal USDA Rural Development Loan will provide the balance of financing for the building’s construction.
Mountain Village Charter School is located on a 38 acre parcel at 13 NH Route 25 in Plymouth, NH. The campus encompasses a variety of ecosystems, including forest, marsh, field, and river frontage.
Currently our Lower Elementary indoor classrooms and administrative offices are housed in a 2,000 square foot modular building. Upper Elementary classrooms are located down the hill in a multi-use building. We also have a variety of outdoor classrooms, nature trails, and play spaces around our property, as well as a school garden.
what it means to be a charter school
Charter schools are public schools that offer an alternative educational resource to the community. Charter schools receive no local tax revenue. They receive funding on a per student basis from the state of New Hampshire and from dedicated federal funds for charter schools. Charter schools in New Hampshire receive only 38% of the funding that traditional public schools receive. However, charter schools have generally proven to be more fiscally efficient.
To view Mountain Village Charter School's charter, click here.