The Children’s School, a Montessori school for 3-6 year olds, is truly a unique preschool. Established initially in 2000 by a devoted and energetic group of parents and led by a Montessori directress, it remains true to the Montessori philosophy and curriculum. The carefully constructed environment is a literal children’s garden of activities. Because the parents have assumed most of the administrative roles, the directress can focus entirely on working with the 12 children in the classroom. The small size of the class and the inclusion of the parents and siblings in Family Fun Days, Family Fun Nights, art days, and parties, generates a genuine warmth and cohesion among the families. For a directress it is the dream of all dreams to teach in such a peaceful and loving atmosphere. As Maria Montessori says, “the children labor indefatigably in joy and happiness.” It was my privilege to be the directress of The Children’s School from 2000 to 2014, and it is my hope that it continues for decades to come.

-Nancy A. Pourciau, Founding Directress


The Montessori educational approach is named after its founder, Maria Montessori. This Italian physician and educator’s philosophy emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.

“The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare…a special environment made for the child.”

“The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences ‘work’.”

“The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind.”

“Such experiences is not just play…. It is work he must do in order to grow up.”


Class meets Tuesday to Friday 8:30am to 11:30am during the school year.


“Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe…for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”

Maria Montessori


The spontaneous ability to organize, classify and quantify patterns and relationships is what Dr. Montessori called the mathematical mind. She borrowed this phrase from Pascal, who said “man’s mind was mathematical by nature and that knowledge and progress came from accurate observation.” 


“Knowledge can best be given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sewn. The child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into knowledge.”

Maria Montessori

Practical Life

“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” 

Maria Montessori


“The aim (of sensorial exercises) is an inner one, namely, that the child train himself to observe; that he be led to make comparisons between objects, to form judgments, to reason and to decide; and it is in the indefinite repetition of this exercise of attention and of intelligence that a real development ensues.”

Maria Montessori


Through family involvement, a dynamic community is born each year. The students develop their own relationships with other’s siblings, parents or grandparents in a safe, loving environment. The trust that is built within the community models healthy connections for life.


As a parent cooperative, family involvement is an integral part of the Children’s School. In addition to filling various roles on the administrative board, each family plans a Family Fun Day. These field trips are where some of our favorite memories are born, when whole families really get to know one another. Both parents, or grandparents, and siblings are invited along. From apple picking, to the PAC, to yoga class, these adventures vary year to year, reflecting the personalities of the families involved.

Parent committees also plan holiday parties. We celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s day with gatherings the whole family are welcome to attend. While only the parents hosting the party are directly involved with the activities, many parents or grandparents choose to take the opportunity to come socialize.

Art days provide another unique opportunity to connect the children and parent communities. Each family plans and prepares an art experience to share with the class. On their assigned day, the parent(s) set up and direct the activity with a few kids at a time. The parents look forward to these days as much as the children do. It allows for a chance to observe the children at work. Parents who are new to the Montessori method often remark on how extraordinarily peaceful the environment is.

The relationships and trust that develop throughout the year as a result of these inclusive experiences are what make The Children’s School so unique. 



Miss Stacie

Miss Stacie

Stacie Clark is the directress of The Children’s school.  Stacie obtained her Bachelor in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she was the first Inductee into the Educational Hall of Fame.  That year she was also the recipient of the Sally Mae National Teaching Award. She spent some time teaching and conducting research in Australia and Japan and then went on to complete her Masters degree in Reading Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  Stacie has spent many years teaching elementary children as well as being a reading specialist.  As an active member of the Wisconsin Reading Association she presented several times which lead her to a career as an Educational Consultant.  She has worked with many districts long term developing programs, presenting best practices and methodology, coaching teachers and administrators and working with a variety of children in the area of literacy.  After many years consulting and raising her own children, who are graduates of The Children School, Stacie reunited with her love of teaching young children.  Stacie spent a year as a substitute teacher at The Children School where her belief and confidence in the Montessori Method was cemented.  She observed first-hand an environment where children are learning at their own pace through play, and children helping each other learn through the support of one another.  Stacie states, “I have been so fortunate to be an active parent in this Montessori program, I was able to participate in my own children’s education and now I am teaching other children using a philosophy I so passionately support.  I feel truly blessed.”  Stacie lives with her family in Neenah.


We advise you to move soon if you are interested, as we plan to extend offers to wait list families in March. 

As a parent cooperative, the board is made up of one or both parents from each family. Meeting seven times throughout the year, we coordinate events, address administrative issues, and provide financial oversight. The range of committees to serve on, from party planning to treasury, allows members to contribute in whatever way they are most suited. Typically held on Friday mornings, parent participation at these board meeting is required.

Because the parents do all the back-end work of running the school, there is only one paid staff member. Without administrative burden, our directress, Miss Stacie is freed up to focus on leading the class. For this reason, we are able to keep tuition at a reasonable rate. Tuition for the 2014-2015 school year is $1,850, paid in two installments ($925/semester). A $50 deposit must accompany your enrollment application. The enrollment deposit will be applied to your tuition balance.

We strive for a balance between ages and genders- one of the dynamics of the Montessori method that make it harmoniously effective. For this reason, along with the small class size and sibling preference, there may be specific slots available for each year.

We are currently accepting applicants for the 2018-2019 and beyond. We have openings for each age- 3, 4, and 5 year olds.

Please contact us with any questions and to add your child to the wait list. Offers are extended the March prior to the intended school year. If a spot is available for your family, you will be given the opportunity to schedule a prospective parent tour. You will observe a class, explore the classroom materials, meet Miss Stacie, and speak with cooperative parents. If you feel The Children’s School would be a good fit for your child, you can then move forward with a formal enrollment application. If you are thinking ahead to your child’s formative preschool years, it is never too early to be added to this list.


  • There are so many great things about The Children’s School – from the initiative and autonomy that the Montessori format fostered in our kids to the special camaraderie among the families – it’s hard to know where to begin in recommending it to prospective families. Probably for us its most unique and important virtue is that learning there is treated as a rewarding challenge in its own right rather than something that needs to be made fun through rewards or outside reinforcement.  I can’t imagine a better start to our kids’ formal education than the one they got at The Children’s School.

    William Hixon
    William HixonCollege Professor
  • The Children’s School is a magical place where two of my three children had the great fortune to grow and develop in their early years. With the small class size including equal groups of children ages 2 ½ - 6, the directress was able to effectively guide the individual learning of all the children. My children joyfully looked forward to school each day, and developed emotionally, socially and academically in ways I never would have anticipated. As they got older, they mastered a variety of skills that they in turn were able to foster and strengthen by working with their younger peers. There is a strong sense of family or community at The Children’s School and I loved having the opportunity to be a part of a parent co-op. As a result of my children’s experiences, I made a life-changing decision to pursue a master’s degree in Montessori early childhood. As a parent and teacher of Montessori education, I highly recommend you check out The Children’s School!

    Maureen Harrington Russell
    Maureen Harrington RussellAppleton Public Montessori
  • The Children’s School has been an influential and pivotal part of each of my three children’s early years. The parent co-op environment allowed me to be engaged in my child’s educational experience, yet encouraged her to separate and gain independence. The Children’s School fosters a sense of family among the children and parents. Several of these relationships have lasted well beyond the years at school.  Twelve children in a class gave my child the personal attention he needed and was able to work at his own level, as well as be a leader/helper to the younger classmates. During my seven years at this school, there was never a day that one of my children didn’t want to go to school. My children have started elementary school well prepared, with skills and work habits that exceeded my expectations.

    Jodi Gaskill
    Jodi GaskillMenasha District Teacher Coach


Is 3-years old too young to start school, and does it limit a 3-year old’s creativity and “free” play time?

As Maria Montessori tells us, learning during the “sensitive period” from 3 to 6 is spontaneous, occurring without effort, as it is absorbed from the environment. When the children as young as three choose materials or activities, they are free to make their own decisions. Their “work” is their “play”.  The order and structure inherent in a Montessori classroom ensure the children’s independence and consequently their creativity and freedom. 

What is the advantage of the mixed 3 to 6 age grouping? How is it beneficial for a 5-year old to be in a classroom with younger children?

The younger children benefit greatly from watching and emulating the behavior of the older children. For 5-year olds, the rewards are also enormous in a Montessori setting. They learn from teaching lessons to the younger children, while they gain leadership skills, nurturing skills, and increased maturity.

If my 5-year old attends The Children’s School, will it be the equivalent of kindergarten?

Yes, the cumulative third year at The Children’s School is an excellent alternative to the public school kindergarten.

How do Montessori children adjust to public school?

Children coming from a Montessori environment are generally self-confident, curious, and eager to learn. They have the initiative and independence to ask questions, so most adapt very quickly to a new environment. 

let’s learn together


We are located inside,
but not affiliated with
Hope Lutheran Brethren church.

415 East Hoover Avenue
Appleton, WI 54915


Emily Reetz, Co-President

Karin Charles, Co-President