High Meadow is a progressive, independent school that fosters creative and intellectual discovery, civic engagement, and personal growth through a relevant, rigorous curriculum. Our diverse and inclusive culture honors each child’s approach to constructing knowledge, and encourages risk-taking in academic and artistic pursuits. We celebrate the joy of learning and the power of community by joining teachers, students and parents through volunteerism and school-wide cultural events.
A shared vision
High Meadow School was founded in 1984 on a shared appreciation for John Dewey’s philosophy of progressive education by our founder, Mimi Labourdette and seven families. We first opened on Brook Farm at the foot of the Mohonk Mountain, where the natural beauty inspired our name and our school’s curriculum. Eight years later, we moved to our current campus in Stone Ridge, and have since expanded from one historic building to three school buildings, a performing arts and athletic center, an art barn, and gazebo.
It’s the shared sweat equity of 300 parents, 35 teachers, and 150 students that allows our community to thrive. Visitors and new families often comment upon the sense of belonging that permeates our campus: it comes from the strong current of service that runs through every aspect of the school. We’ve created a program that is academically strong, child-centered, and committed to artistic expression.
Volunteering is an essential value of our school's culture. It provides a sense of ownership within every student, parent and teacher, and makes it possible for us to operate as a parent cooperative non-profit; with a lower price compared to other schools. All parents commit 25 hours annually to our school, with activities including beautifying the campus, classroom support, and fundraising.
A small community for learning
While our school was founded in 1984, our story begins in 1896, when John Dewey founded the University of Chicago Lab School. He was driven by a concern that still resonates today: as American culture becomes more mechanized and far-flung, our children lose the opportunity to participate in the pragmatic, social and democratic experience of small communities. Dewey was moved by children’s natural sense of industry and curiosity, and successfully started a movement to develop and implement these fundamental principles of what he called a Progressive Education:
Education must prepare and nurture students to be future participants in a free, diverse, and democratic society.
Students are at the center of the classroom experience, and are encouraged and motivated to learn, grow, choose areas of particular interest and extend their own learning.
Teachers are researchers in their own classrooms, and collaborate with each other and each individual student to find the best ways to learn and develop.
Academic, artistic, physical, and social skills and pursuits are all valued and brought to bear on the learning process.
A place for growth
Our campus is situated on 9 acres of land, set back from Main Street in Stone Ridge, New York. It’s a small historic hamlet of locally owned businesses, Dutch stone and Victorian homes, the library, local food establishments, the Community Center and Marbletown’s Center for the Arts, all a short walk away.
Our Main Building, circa 1850, houses our administrative offices, preschool through second grade classrooms, and dance studio. The Nest is home to our third and fourth grade classrooms, as well as the Spanish room. The Barn houses houses fifth through eighth grade classrooms, our Performing Arts Center, the gymnasium, our science lab and art studio. The Labourdette Building, a converted coach house, is our music room.
Our curriculum places much emphasis on the natural world around us, and we use our campus for field studies, science teaching and outdoor play. Students, faculty and parents all work to maintain the gardens and fields, imbuing our community with respect while building relationship and play skills. Some of the features include:
Allows for water studies, bird observations, and aesthetic musings.
Over the course of years, our students have built a village in the woods surrounding the campus. This is a village in which students create structures from found materials, make the rules and have the freedom to pretend.
Sacagawea Trail & Bird Sanctuary
Sacagawea Trail & Bird Sanctuary
A two acre, state-recognized bird sanctuary was established by the third and eighth grade in 2008 and is regularly walked by students in all grades for ecosystems studies as well as arts classes and physical education.
The organic garden was begun in our upper school, where students get to study sciences outside of the normal curriculum. It is tended by all students and their teachers, and students get to experiment, make observations and learn cooking from the garden methods. At harvest time, the garden supplements snack for the whole school!
Staff and Board of Trustees
Meet our Board of Trustees and Leadership Team, who together are setting a strategic vision and implementing it for our school.