Blue Heron School students running through field

Blue Heron School

Blue 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

Fast Facts:

Blue Heron School at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
  • 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.
  • Tuition: Full Day: $5,500 per year ($550/month) for 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    Extended Day: $210/month, September through May, for 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. or charged per day.
  • Blue Heron School closely follows the local public school calendar

About Blue Heron School

There is no such thing as bad weather at Blue Heron School, where children jump off rocks, balance on logs, climb trees, and explore the ponds, streams, and woods of the Science Center. Their experiences connect them with nature and their world.

The program combines the Montessori philosophy and materials with the Nature School approach. Children learn to care for themselves and the environment and engage in academic areas such as language, math, geography, music, and art. They take letters and numbers outside to practice writing and counting, and they bring natural discoveries indoors for research and further understanding. Extended outdoor time allows opportunities for both spontaneous exploration and activities, as well as guided discoveries with Science Center Naturalists.

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 interdependence of all living things. We hope to encourage in our students a lifelong environmental ethic, compassion for others, and a connection to their community.

About Our Teachers

Laura Mammarelli, Blue Heron School Director

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 Fitzgerald, Lead Teacher

Jordan FitzgeraldB.A. University of North Carolina
Jordan received her B.A. in Education of Young Children. She also received her Montessori 3 to 6 year old certification from the North American Montessori Center and her Montessori 3 to 6 certification from Northeast Montessori Institute. Jordan has been working in the early childhood education field for 15 years and is an advocate for outdoor education.

Jordy Gianforte, Lead Teacher

Jordy GianforteB.S. State University of New York at New Paltz
Jordy received her BS in Psychology/Biology and her Masters in Elementary education from SUNY New Paltz in New York. She is also certified to teach K-8 in New Hampshire. She fell in love with Montessori education while working in charter schools and finished her Montessori certificate for Lower Elementary from Seacoast Center Montessori Program. She is currently receiving additional training for three to six year olds at the Northeast Montessori Institute.

Corrie Kinder, Associate Teacher

Corrie KinderB.S. Plymouth State University
Corrie received her Bachelors Degree in Childhood Studies from Plymouth State University. She fell in love with the Montessori Philosophy through her own research and having the opportunity to do an internship at the White Mountain Montessori School. She has a true passion for working with young children and having a positive impact on their life. She really enjoys spending time outside hiking, camping, kayaking, playing soccer, and exploring new things.

Hannah O'Brien, Associate Teacher

Hannah O'BrienB.A. Thomas Aquinas College
Hannah received her B.A. in the Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College, CA. After college, she explored education in a public charter school for a year. Through reading books by Dr. Maria Montessori, she was inspired to pursue a teaching career in the Montessori method. She received her Primary Guide certification for ages 3-6 at the AMI Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Arizona. She was the lead guide at St Peter’s Montessori School from 2015-2018 and is thrilled to be now working at the Montessori outdoor immersion program at Blue Heron School at the Science Center. In her free time, Hannah enjoys singing in church choirs, playing violin, reading, hiking, biking, baking, and gardening.

Kate Banyas, Assistant Teacher

B.A. Sterling College, M.S. Lesley University
Kate received her B.A. in Natural History and Education from Sterling College in Craftsbury VT, and received her M.S. in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University in Cambridge MA. Kate has been working in the field of outdoor and environmental education for 15 years, and is very passionate about sharing her love of nature with others. In her free time Kate enjoys birdwatching, skiing, hiking, kayaking, camping, and traveling.

Questions about Blue Heron School? Contact us via email


Scholarship Fund

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center welcomes donations to the Blue Heron School Scholarship Fund. Please contact Janet Robertson at 603-968-7194 x 12 or by email to learn more about this giving opportunity.