The Nursery

Nursery Picture


Ann Guthrie is the teacher of the Nursery's inquisitive and active 3 1/2- to 5-year-olds. Ann's philosophy is that children are innately curious and that by providing a rich environment that supports self-direction and a sense of wonder, children will learn, grow and develop: They are intrinsically competent learners who want to take on challenge and to master their worlds.

Another foundational belief is that young children learn how to get along with one another, to know themselves and to learn about the world around them through play and playfulness. Their play is seen to be on a continuum from the quite silly to the quite serious. It is understood that they sense the differences and gain from it all. 

The Nursery supports the belief that children learn in different ways and develop at different rates. In all things there is a developmental timescale for children that is respected. A great deal of patience, support and repetition are provided. 

Students in the Nursery have a regularly scheduled time each week for Art & Science with Brian Brogan and Music with Dennis Farmer. They also take part in school-wide events and celebrations.




Nursery Newsletter

  • You Don't Have to Marry the King
    Written by
    Nurseries love "Once upon a time…." and "Long, long ago, in a land far away….". They love stories with challenge and adventure and a satisfying resolution at the end. They make up their own stories as a backdrop for their play with one another. These stories — their own original ones and the ones the have heard and are retelling and are modifying as needed — are the scaffolding for their work and play together. Young children are driven to do this. Creating and sharing these stories, individually and in the group, moves them to work together. Nurseries have worked hard this year to help one another and themselves to begin to master the give-and-take in order to keep their storytelling and play with one another moving forward. Active, immediate, on the spot, group play is what they are after; collaboration and cooperation and problem solving tools are what they need to make it work; and storytelling is their medium. In the Nursery, we often preface fairytales, folktales, tall tales, myths and legends by talking about how these are stories people liked to tell each other a long, long, long time ago. We talk about how they didn't have movies or dvds or radios or TV or even books to read and so they told each other stories. One or two people will usually add, "It was a really looong time ago," and, "Maybe they sat around a campfire." Really it was not too long ago that there were always family story tellers who would pass along, not just the family stories and their own created stories, but also an oral tradition from the wider culture. This was to pass on traditions, to teach, to entertain and to have fun. It's not difficult to see that our own is a time and culture that has begun to lose this creative storytelling and oral tradition. Even the old tales and myths are read now — or are experienced on a screen — and are not told, which, of course, can also serve to crystalize them in a certain time and place and cultural reality. Aside from being natural story tellers themselves, young children are hungry for stories. Humans are hungry for stories. Think of the commercial success of the books that are strongly hero's-journey and story driven. The Harry Potter books come to mind, and also recent Disney animations, Frozen and Moana. We are all of us hungry for stories that help us process our lives: fun stories, goofy stories, serious stories, teaching stories, coming of age stories and, of course, stories of the hero's journey. This past Friday morning at the Victoria Theater, we saw a live production of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters from the picture book written by John Steptoe and based on an African tale written down in the1800s. It's a tale out of a Cinderella/fairytale/hero's journey tradition. The audience response was often powerful (and sometimes the applause was a bit loud for Nursery aged ears.)The music, dance, sets and staging were beautiful and like other fairytales, the story line could feel out of time, because, of course, it is! These are the stories we have inherited from our pasts — distant and not so distant, they are part of our cultures still. Some parts don't fit or shouldn't fit. There is a remedy for this. Hang out with some three and four and five year olds. Follow their examples: In their tradition, it's all grist for your personal mill. As you do your own personal story telling, discard or alter the parts that don't fit, use the parts that do. Make up your own stories to tell. Use the hero's journey often since it is a popular and powerful form. Share with family and friends. Have fun. As these Nurseries make clear time and time again, don't be afraid to talk and discuss or disagree with the storyline as it progresses. Always remember the words of several Nurseries who made up their own play on Friday when we were back from the theater: "You don't have to marry the king." "Yeah, you know, you can marry anyone you want."
Read more from Ann's blog...
Ann - Nursery

Ann Guthrie - Nursery

From my earliest, I have been intrigued by the natural world and animal behavior--including human.  Among my ongoing interests are the brain, brain research, individual temperament and personality, child development, social organization of groups, language acquisition, history of  the English language, writing, and words in general.

In many ways an autodidact, I left high school for part of a year when I was 15 to work on a research project which took me to the Kansas City Science Fair and then on to the 1964 National Science Fair-International as a finalist, where I was awarded second place by the American Psychological Association.  I had parents who very much respected personal autonomy, trusted in me, and found ways to support my somewhat quirky and passionate interests which ranged from field study, brown capuchin monkeys, to gymnastics with a lot of other stuff in between.

I did go back to high school and also have a BA from Antioch College in Education with certification K-6.  My post-graduate work is ongoing and mostly of my own design.  Over these past 28 plus years, a good part of it has taken place at the educational laboratory of The Antioch School and in an ongoing collaboration seminar with my colleagues, past and present, who are rare and gifted teachers and profound educational thinkers.

Each year I also have the opportunity to get to know 12 individuals, young children, who bring with them their own unique temperaments, personalities, interests, and learning styles.  I am honored to be part of their process as they learn and grow as individuals, see themselves and one another, and collaborate to create their group.

My husband is a writer whose special interests are music, literature, and history.  Our daughter is an alum of The Antioch School and teaches in the Theater Department at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

For 3 1/2 - 5-year-olds
8:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
8:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M.

Upcoming Nursery Events

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If you have a question for Ann, please use the form below to send her an email.

Testimonial of Selah Griffin.

Selah Griffin
The Antioch School 2009-2015

An Older Group student at the time this testimonial was written