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

  • Big Energy/Quiet Times... Finding the Balance
    Written by

    Early spring tells bodies to be busy and to MOVE and it feels like these particular children have been feeling this especially intensely this spring!

    For weeks they were driven to soak in the spring and be active... almost always. Perhaps they have just logged enough warm, sunny time now, or maybe it's just the angle of the sun that is telling them spring is really here to stay. In any case, the outside is still a huge draw for Nurseries, but they are also finding ways to seek out the inside times or find quieter activities that will match their own needs to reset and renew their energies.

    They are back to recognizing when they need to just put themselves on pause for a bit even if friends still want to be on the move. I can see how they are helping each other in this. I also see them self regulating more now. They are adding "inside plans" to our mornings and afternoons beyond just their most loved Storytimes and settling in with books.

    Sometimes they will take a break from the extreme physicality of their running, climbing, and triking, etc., to just relax at the fence line with the chickens who are out in their their yard.

    Another favorite relaxing outside thing for them is to plan a time to actually go into the chicken yard… to “go-in-to-see-the-chicken-coup” as they say. They want to look into the nest boxes for eggs and know how to unlatch the roof…  and then to latch it back up.

    This is such a good outside change of pace for them… and at the same time they are building real trust relationships with each of the hens. Calm energy, quiet voices and many, many violets hand picked to feed them. What amazing experience for a young child to have. They are all taking on the responsibility of figuring out, and then knowing, how to keep other living creatures feeling comfortable and safe. As one Nurseryer put it, “We don’t want them to think we’re predators.”

    To kick things off, on Monday one child had the idea to bring in planks from the hallway and build a floor in the room. The rest picked up on the activity and wanted to join in!

    These are creative people and there were additional ideas too! A sea-saw-balance-beam.


    Dino slides.

    A bus parking lot with a place to relax on a rocking chair. Plus, if you look in the background in this photo, you will see the beginning idea for a bench.



     That is big enough for one…


    And also big enough for two. We ended up reading that book, Cat and Mouse, on the spot!


    On Tuesday, after several weeks of anticipation, we were able to finally get out the water table. Like we always do with any new, exciting, and complicated activity, we met at the rocking chairs to talk and plan. I explained that we would need to find a way to wear smocks since, as much as you try, water can splash and that we would also need to take off jackets in order to keep them dry. I told them that there were buckets they could use to carry water in from the sink. In part, it's putting the water in themselves that helps give them a real sense of ownership. It also seems to give them the understanding that they are together and collaborating on something fun and BIG. Draining the water, watching the whirlpool vortex grow bigger and bigger, keeping the cork carefully in hand, and checking the bucket below (so it doesn't overflow) are very interesting, important things too!

    Here is the list they had me write.

    We used the Water Table all week long. Somehow they all found a way to keep themselves and one another dry!

    So dry that by Thursday morning they had all decided together that they didn’t even need smocks. It was also easy for me to see they really didn’t need them. So now… no smocks it is!

    Rainy wet or clear and dry, they found their outside/inside balance for the week.

    Outside there was Cycle Circle Side.

    There was continued Nursery/YG connection being forged.

    By Friday morning the winds told them they needed airplanes.

    By Friday afternoon the powerful bluster of even bigger winds sent them up onto the Golf Course where they spent a joyous half an hour being blown around and into the grass with one another.

    Inspired by the wind, they added to that fun by linking hands and facing in the opposite directions. Then they would spin each other until their grips broke and they flew away from one another to spin off into the grass. They did this two-by-two and then four by four.

    It was exquisite and transitory. In a way I wish I had thought to take my phone/camera with me when we headed out to the Golf Course to make a record to share. And in another way I know it just fine that I didn't. All of this is part of their useful experience of the moment and they are storing it up better than any words or camera can do! 





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.

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Testimonial of Selah Griffin.

Selah Griffin
The Antioch School 2009-2015

An Older Group student at the time this testimonial was written