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Blue Heron School

Blue Heron School at Squam Lakes Natural Science CenterBlue Heron School is a nature-based Montessori early learning center with a child-focused approach and daily outdoor experiences. The school operates September to June, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"I believe a child's first experience at school builds the foundations for future learning, but Blue Heron has also shown me that school can be a place where a child begins to grow as whole person. Her work with the naturalists and Ms. Laura and Ms. Jordan has inspired in her a natural sense of compassion and conservation that I am consistently surprised by and grateful for. I believe that wherever her education takes her in the future, her success and ability will easily be traced back to her first steps along the wooded paths at Blue Heron school." Heidi W., Blue Heron School Parent

Blue Heron School is a place where children have engaging experiences that connect them with nature and their world. The program combines the Montessori philosophy and materials with the Nature School approach. This setting supports child development, builds community, and offers structured and unstructured outdoor activities every day.

A typical day at Blue Heron School includes group time (for stories, music, games and discussion), snack, lunch, an extended work time (when children are free to select and concentrate on appropriate activities), and a substantial period outdoors with both unstructured time and presentations by Naturalists. Children are free to explore their own interests, both outdoors and inside, as they become independent and self-confident. Children learn to be responsible for themselves and their environment and to treat others with respect, and form a close and supportive community. Optimally, children start at around age three, and stay for three years, two preschool years and one kindergarten year. Each year builds on the previous year(s). Through this experience each child has the chance to be both a learner and a mentor. Using Montessori materials and materials found in nature, children concentrate on activities that develop the foundation for the care of self and the environment and foster academic progress in areas such as language, math and geography. Outdoor time allows opportunities for spontaneous exploration and lots of fun large motor activity, as well as more structured interactions with Science Center Naturalists on a variety of topics.

At Blue Heron School, our goals are for children to develop an affinity for nature and an awareness of the interconnectedness of all living things as they grow and gain a lifelong environmental ethic.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center welcomes donations to the Blue Heron School Scholarship Fund. Please contact Janet Robertson at 603-968-7194 x12 to learn more about this giving opportunity.

Fast Facts:

  • Ages 3 to 6
  • September - June
  • Monday - Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Blue Heron School closely follows the local public school calendar
  • Tuition
    • $5,000/year ($500/month) for 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    • $7,000/year ($700/month) for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

About Our Teachers

Laura Mammarelli, Blue Heron School Director/Lead Teacher

Laura MammarelliB.A. Middlebury College
Laura received her B.A. in History from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont and also became certified to teach K-8 in public schools. She completed Montessori training in 1982 as a preschool-kindergarten teacher from the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in Boston. She has taught in Montessori programs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and consulted for Montessori preschools in the Plymouth, NH area. She owned and ran the Montessori School of Plymouth from 1994 to 2005, and most recently, is a founding officer of the New Hampshire Montessori Association.

Jordan McDaniel, Associate Teacher

Jordan McDanielB.A. University of North Carolina
Jordan attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she obtained a B.A. in Education of Young Children. She also received her Montessori 3 to 6 year old certification from the North American Montessori Center. She has worked in various early childhood learning centers for twelve years and is an advocate for outdoor education.

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