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Vision. Growth. Stability.

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Once Upon A Time

The Schoolhouse was formed in 1971 by a group of families who wanted their children to continue to experience the child-centered philosophy of their preschool in the primary grades. Since the preschool did not wish to expand, they decided to form a separate elementary school.

Until 1975, The Schoolhouse was located on Mt. Philo Road in Shelburne. On average, 20 children were enrolled during each academic year. During this period, The Schoolhouse’s educational philosophy emerged. The school stressed an individualized multi-aged classroom format with an emphasis on basic literacy skills and self-directed learning. Structured as a family-teacher cooperative, it benefited from the active and continuing involvement of grown-ups in both the administrative support and instructional components of the school. The Schoolhouse was approved by the State of Vermont as a private school in 1973.

Our Nomadic Past

In 1975 The Schoolhouse moved into its first rented space in Burlington, beginning a long nomadic era of making its home in various rented spaces throughout the city. Though it moved many times, the school remained constant in its mission and core values, while developing a flexibility and resourcefulness that remains an important part of Schoolhouse culture today.

Our Permanent Home

In 2000, with a generous donation from MBL Associates, The Schoolhouse acquired the Ramsey Barn and 28 acres of surrounding wetlands and fields at Dorset Farms in South Burlington. With additional money raised by school families and others in the community – and many hours of labor – the barn was renovated and transformed into the classrooms, gymnasium, offices, kitchen, open spaces, and playgrounds of today. Thirty years after its founding, in September of 2001, Schoolhouse opened the doors to its permanent home and welcomed children in.

Honoring Our Roots, Fulfilling Our Dreams

The Schoolhouse made a different sort of transition in 2009, from being a family cooperative to being a Board of Directors-led school. Many families, both current and alumni, have served on the Board, and the school remains family-centered with myriad opportunities for grown-ups and extended family to be involved both day-to-day and in planning for the future.

In 2012, The Schoolhouse returned to its roots, expanding to include a preschool program for children 2-4 years old. Our kindergarten class has always included 4 year olds who are ready for a new challenge but miss the public school cut-off for kindergarten.

Finally in 2014, The Schoolhouse realized a long-standing dream and grew to include a middle school (6th – 8th). The middle school gives older students exciting new independence and learning opportunities as they mature, while maintaining a supportive community connection with the elementary faculty and students.

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