The idea for Secret Garden germinated in 2006 with a group of parents seeking an alternative preschool experience for their children. They valued wholesome food, a connection to nature and community. They found seasoned Montessori teacher, Barbette Robillard, who brought the group to the philosophy of Maria Montessori.
The group formed as a small homeschool cooperative taking turns hosting the "school" in each others homes. Barbette traveled around weekly to each of them and set up a traveling classroom which included practical life; work with didactic materials, art, outdoor experiences and lots of nature study.
The school rapidly began to grow and in 2008, founding member Jennifer Isaacs was inspired to expand the vision and establish the group more formally. She, along with a dedicated and dynamic team of other community members worked tirelessly to establish our first Board of Trustees and obtain our 501(c)3 status as a non-profit, educational institution.
In late 2009, we moved into a single unit in our current location at the historic Frenchtown Barn Center. We opened our doors that first year with a Primary class cohort of only 6 students! Since that time, we have expanded to occupy three suites and have developed our program offerings to provide children from infancy through age 13 with meaningful early education experiences.
The school now boasts an enrollment of close to 50 students!
As we've grown, we have not lost sight of the school's founding values of connections to healthy living, the outdoors and community engagement. This beautiful river town offers many opportunities for our children to engage with all these things. It has manifested in the form of projects like maintenance of vegetable and herb gardens, food drives for local pantries, visits to local nursing homes and much more!
Our garden continues to flourish and our roots are deepening each season! We are delighted to be on this journey and look forward to all the blossoming that is surely in store for us!