About Us


Families Share

"Watching my three children go through the Village School, I saw a clear difference between the Village School and the public system or even other private schools. Village School children receive an emotional education (my words completely) unavailable elsewhere. This is so important for parents to see but not always easy to describe.

When I sent my first child to the Village School, the advantages were not completely apparent-even to me-and I was part of the group that started the school! The differences are now etched permanently in my understanding. At the Village School, children discover self respect, mutual respect and courage. They are not afraid to be, to try, to create.

The children gain an understanding of the world around them that is not fear-based or survival- based. Theirs is more of a wondrous process of discovery; made possible by the incredible staff at the Village School. Over time, the staff learned to foster this discovery process in children. They are a hugely valuable resource.

Potential parents may fear that the VS academics are not good enough for their child. This is not surprising in a rapidly advancing modern society, but it is upside-down thinking. The skills needed to thrive in this world are increasingly those having to do with self-confidence, leadership, and creativity. Those need to be valued above all. And indeed, the school does provide superb academics.

In my humble opinion, the Village School is unlike any of its so-called peers. There are none."

by Rick Walton, founder and owner of the Gardner Ale House , alumni parent and current Village School Board member


About Us

Our History

In the spring of 1989, a group of farmers, parents, scientists, writers, and local business people met over a period of time and, in the end, said YES! to a new, (and at the same time, very old fashioned) model of education. We recognized the need for balance in education, for the physical body, the emotional life, and the mental capacities to work together in harmony, through a direct connection to the earth. We saw the need for children to be part of a community connected to farming, forestry stewardship, and nature conservation. We formed the Millers River Educational Cooperative, Inc. (M.R.E.C.) and opened the Village School as a small preschool in September 1989. The Village School grew as other parents, teachers, and community members connected to the vision of the school and became involved in its operation. Today the Village School offers a comprehensive and tested preschool through 6th grade education.

Origins and Influences of the Village School

In the late 1960's and early 1970's, John G. Bennett, philosopher, scientist and educator, founded the International Academy for Continuous Education in England, for post-college and older adults, teaching practical ways to bring balance to human development. He addressed the overemphasis on the development of the intellect in modern education, by employing methods to develop and integrate the emotional life and the life of the physical body. He also taught methods to develop the attention, using it as a key instrument in the learning process.

In addition, Bennett felt strongly that much of the difficulty of modern life stemmed from a disconnection to nature, so as part of the educational program, students worked in the garden, learned forestry, and in the process, learned how to become centered within themselves.

Many of Bennett's students were American, and came back to the U.S., settling in the Boston area. Seeking a more rural life, a number of them settled in the beautiful, quiet Athol-Royalston area over time. They began to look for an education for their children that would provide the balance that was missing from their own childhood. Not finding such education locally, they began to meet and look at how to provide it themselves.

In the spring of 1989, this group of parents incorporated as Millers River Educational Cooperative, Inc., and began the Village School preschool., welcoming parents and children from the local community. As the school grew, influences from Maria Montessori, Elizabeth Bennett, A.L. Stavely, and Waldorf education were integrated into the curriculum. Balance was addressed by incorporating music, art, fairy tales and fostering a strong sense of community for the emotional life, physical challenges for the physical body, and lots of direct contact with nature. Each year, another grade was added, up to the sixth grade.

In 1998, Millers River Educational Cooperative purchased the Camp Caravan property in Royalston for use as the site for the future home of the Village School, and for a campus for practical adult education, as envisioned by John Bennett.

All of the present Village School Board members, staff, and Director have studied the methods and philosophy of John G. Bennett. The Millers River Educational Cooperative continues to meet and study and is working on improving the buildings and land at Camp Caravan.

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Contact Information::

Email: info@villageschoolma.org
Phone: 978.249.3505