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 class. They also take part in school-wide events and celebrations.




Nursery Newsletter

  • A Story of Nursery Process: The Mystery of a Soft Grey Bird
    Written by

    The sudden cold weather seems to be bringing on changes for the Nurseries. They are even hungrier now and are beginning to actually understand the need for coats and hats when they are cold, and that putting something on your hands can make you much more comfortable. They are also beginning to want to build more with blocks, read more stories, explore more Quiet Toys, spend more time with arts&crafts and projects... it's typical cold weather focus and interests that are growing.

    Tuesday morning, the Nurseries explored cardboard, scissors, and tape ideas for quite a while inside. Then, when the time for outside finally came, several children discovered a beautiful soft grey and white bird with yellow tail tips lying on the ground near the Nursery door.  It had probably flown into a Nursery window when it became confused by the reflection of trees in the glass.

    Word spread quickly and the children gathered to see. I asked Nurseries to look, but not to touch. Even though it looked lifeless to me, I was aware that sometimes a bird can survive a flying crash.

    With the little cedar waxwing, there was concern, curiosity, and animated discussion.  Some people were back and forth in their thinking, at times referring to it as alive... but sleeping, and sometimes saying it was not alive. One or two referred to it as dead. While we watched, a bead of what I knew was blood appeared from its beak, and I was sure in my own adult mind that it was dead. After looking closely, one child's explanation was that it had been eating red berries and then the berries came out of its mouth while it was sleeping. For the most of them, that became the general theory and explanation.

    So what should we do?

    A box was found and after decorating it with markers, they filled it with soft brown leaves for a bed and then thought they needed something soft for a pillow. We still had a container of of pink yarn they had cut into pieces earlier in September and had kept for projects. Would that do? Yes it would.

    The box was prepared. I asked how we could put the little bird in the box so carefully so we wouldn't disturb it? One child volunteered that his mother had used two or three sticks together to move a dead bird once. I found a sturdy, curving stick that also had fork in it, and another child found another stick she said would help. She and I did team work together to transport it and then placed it gently in the bed they had made. Somehow we got it into the box with its head positioned on the pillow of yarn. Almost everyone said that it would need a blanket and we found a square of fabric in the room that they thought would work. One child folded it in half to cover the bird... except for its head.

    Where could we put the box so the little bird could be in a protected quiet place and away from where people walked? They had many ideas: maybe up on the stone wall, or by the sand box, or in the upstairs of the red house.  I said I thought maybe we could find a safer place, a little more away from where so many people would be running or playing. Some thought maybe near their jumping off place. I said maybe near it, but what about down the little path where we don't go unless they're with a teacher, where it is very bushy. They thought that would work.

    Once we had climbed the stone wall and gone in the bushes, one child suggested putting the box up in the crook of a big tree nearby... to be very safe. I said that I couldn't reach that high and we walked in a little further so I could demonstrate. I said that not even Nathan could reach that high. So, instead, we found a short tree stump that was surrounded by small circle of tiny volunteer trees growing from the base of the stump. They placed the box with the little bird there and returned to be with the others who were already playing down on Tire Swing Side.

    The next morning, two of the children asked to go back to check on the little bird. After looking, they said it did not look like it had very much life. Before returning back down to the play yard, they decided to open up the blanket to full size before replacing it. It would help warm the little bird more. That would give it more life. 

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

Mon Dec 19 @12:00AM
Winter Holiday

Tue Jan 03 @12:00AM
School Resumes

Mon Jan 16 @12:00AM
Martin Luther King Day - School Closed

Fri Jan 20 @12:00AM
Conference Day - School Closed

Sun Jan 22 @ 1:00PM - 03:00PM
Open House for Prospective Families

Fri Jan 27 @12:00AM
Conference Day - School Closed

Contact Ann

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