Our Philosophy

A Unique and Nurturing Transition to School

Founded in 1959, Garden Nursery School is a DEEC state-licensed, part-time parent/teacher cooperative preschool for children ages 2.9 - 5 years located in the heart of Harvard Square. Social and emotional development is the core of our teaching and practice. Through an emergent curriculum that emphasizes learning through play, our students begin to understand more about themselves and how to work with others in a group setting. The important skills of playing, interacting, problem solving, and empathy provide them with a strong foundation for their next steps into school.

Garden Nursery School is a safe, vibrant, and nurturing first school experience. As a community, we strive to honor differences and provide a model of cooperation and respect for all children and families. Our 60 years of experience as a parent- and teacher-run cooperative school reaffirms our belief that active parental involvement helps establish community and that this, in turn, naturally eases the transition for children as they make their way in their new school environment.

We believe that each child is unique, full of potential and continually evolving. Our school aims to provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing early school experience. We respect the different perspectives, experiences and dignity of each child and family.

Family classroom visits, welcome books, GNS t-shirts and summer playdates at the park are all part of transitioning children into school.

Emergent Curriculum Emphasizing Learning Through Play

Play and social-emotional development are the heart of the curriculum, and the day is designed to provide a combination of structured activities and self-directed play. This allows the children to develop skills they need to participate in a group, as well as ample opportunity to explore and experiment independently with the wide range of materials set out each day.

Diversity and Cooperation

Our teachers tailor activities to the interests and needs of individual students. Our materials and curriculum reflect our appreciation for human diversity; they honor the multiplicity of family structures and the economic, racial, and religious differences in our community. The classroom is at once calm and joyful. Teachers and parents work together to create an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect in which our children can play, learn and thrive.

Media Free Policy

In response to the growing media influence that surrounds children on a daily basis, Garden Nursery School has elected to be a media free environment, meaning that we ask that children not wear or bring media-related merchandise to school. We understand that children often imitate what they see on television, in video games and in movies and we welcome creativity in whatever form it takes. Our media free policy does not mean that characters are prohibited from entering into the childrenโ€™s dramatic play or creations, it simply means that the roles and scenarios or related props must be negotiated rather than awarded to a child that wears certain clothing or brings certain toys from home. This policy also preserves a more level playing field for children of families that have chosen to limit exposure to media or that donโ€™t have access to certain toys/clothes for financial reasons. Perhaps most importantly, subtracting the media images from the learning space allows children to envision children of any race, gender, ability or cultural background taking on these roles in their play.

Technology Policy

At GNS, children have access to very limited technology. There are books on CD's and a music CD/MPG player, but no TV or computer in the classroom.

Copyright Garden Nursery School. All rights reserved.

Comments/Suggestions regarding this site: webmaster@gardennurseryschool.org