Why Choose High Meadow?
High Meadow School is a unique learning community for children in nursery through 8th grade, dedicated to fostering social and environmental responsibility, collaboration, creativity, confidence, and connection-making, where adults and children share a sense of belonging based on mutual respect and open communication.
With access to world-class regional resources from our Stone Ridge, NY location -- including the Ashokan Reservoir, Mohonk Preserve, the Hudson River, the historic, thriving city of Kingston, and New York City just a couple hours away -- a High Meadow education fosters curiosity in nature and culture alike.
High Meadow School is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools all over the world, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.
We welcome you to learn more about High Meadow School by exploring our community online and in-person at our campus.
Our Mission Statement
Since 1984, High Meadow School has nurtured childrens’ love of learning by engaging their intrinsic curiosity in nature, one another, play, and creative expression. We empower each child to be an independent thinker with a personal voice by providing opportunities to authentically and compassionately participate as a member of a diverse, democratic school community.
High Meadow School was founded in 1984. An appreciation for John Dewey’s philosophy of progressive education was embraced 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 as well as 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 parents, teachers, and 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. Volunteerism activities including beautifying the campus, classroom visits to share expertise, and fundraising.
Our campus is situated on 9 acres of land, 2.5 of which have been designated “forever wild.” The campus is set back from Main Street in Stone Ridge, New York. Stone Ridge is 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 2-year-old classroom, which is downstairs in what is affectionately referred to as “The Burrow.”. The Barn 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 relationships and play skills.
About John Dewey and Progressive Education:
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. The essential tenets of Progressive Education are as follows:
Education should prepare students to participate actively in a free, diverse, and democratic society.
The learner, not the teacher or subject matter, is the center of the classroom experience.
Learning should be intrinsically, not extrinsically, motivated.
Teachers are the researchers in their classroom and are in collaboration with one another and the child to find the best way for that child to learn. Students should participate in hands-on, meaningful learning.
As a Community, We Believe:
That providing our students access to a diverse array of perspectives and points of view is a crucial part of a whole education,
Education should prepare students to participate actively in a free, diverse, and democratic society,
Teachers are the guides and researchers in their classrooms and are in collaboration with each other and the child to find the best way for that child to learn,
Education should have the learner at the center of the classroom experience,
Children flourish when they are allowed to explore nature, the outdoors and their relationships within their community in a safe and supportive environment,
Play is an essential part of learning for children of all ages,
Learning should be differentiated by meeting children where they are and taking them as far as they can go,
Each child should be known,
Learning through inquiry allows children to “be” scientists, historians, artists, who produce ideas rather than simply consuming content,
Service is an essential part of being a member of a community,
Children thrive when they can choose to learn about ideas that fascinate them,
Social/emotional development occurs when children are given opportunities within their communities to identify problems and collectively design their own solutions.