Thaddeus Stevens School Celebrates One Year In Vail Barn With More Expansion


Thaddeus Stevens School teacher Ben Cookson prepares his science room for the new school year.

LYNDON CENTER -- "Wow. Look at these colors," say Sammy Storz and Sydney Benjamin, as they walk through the newly renovated floor level of the Vail Barn, located in Lyndon Center. A bright red boot room trimmed with white paint greets anyone who enters the door. Purple, turquoise and soft blue are found throughout the rooms. The math room is melon, the phonics room is yellow, and the science room is filled with animals (both live and stuffed) with a blue ceiling dotted with white puffy clouds.

"Parents and board members worked together on painting the rooms and local contractors took on the larger renovations," says founding Trustee Bob Morgan, "It's been a great journey since we started the school with only two grades in 1999."

The teachers at Thaddeus Stevens School investigated current research as they developed their primary grades curriculum and consider play extremely important at these stages of growth in terms of developing skills and creative thinking. "The work of Simon Nicholson and his "Theory of Loose Parts" inspired us to create a playground filled with pails, shovels, diggers, boxes, shells, cloth, feathers, paints, and miscellaneous items that the students will use to construct and de-construct as they wish," said Julie Hansen, director of the school.

The other research-based innovation the school has adopted is to organize the teachers according to their specialty. "It is observed that shifting teachers into teaching those disciplines at which they excel has a powerful impact on student achievement, even in the primary grades," says Maria Dufresne, dean of the Lower Elementary School.

Thaddeus Stevens School has also been approved by the State of Vermont for kindergarten and is seeking an appropriate venue that will provide lots of outdoor activities and enough space for movement throughout the day.


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