The history of our school program begins in 1997, when founder Deborah Gleeson was studying at Antioch New England University to obtain her Master of Education degree. With the urging of her husband and soon to be business partner, Denis Gleeson (MBA, Boston University), and the encouragement of the Antioch New England staff, Deborah started a preschool as her Master’s thesis project. The Nature of Things, LLC began with a small class of three- to five-year-olds and by the year 2000 grew to provide quality care and education for 180 children from infants through age 12. Over the next several years, the school continued to flourish. Today, The Nature of Things, LLC is located on a sustainable academic campus and working farm. With the help of many dedicated education professionals, administrators, and support staff, the program continues to expand and several new entities have grown from the initial seedling. Today, our educational programs include:
- Nature’s Pathways Early Childhood Center
- 2nd Nature Academy Elementary, Middle, & High School
- Camp Lovewell Outdoor Summer Day Camp
- The Enrichment Center @ 2nd Nature Academy (Supplemental Programming)
- The Painted Turtle Art Studio
- Claddagh Hill Farm
From the start, it was Deborah’s mission to instill a love for learning in her students from an early age, drawing from 21st Century Learning and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory and building a highly integrated curriculum focused on the power of nature-based outdoor education, environmental sciences, developmentally appropriate practices, humane education, and a literature-based approach to learning.
In addition to this innovative and unique take on education, it has always been a goal of Deborah and Denis to cultivate a sense of community both with their staff and faculty and each client family that comes through the door. To this day, The Nature of Things academic family includes a dedicated staff of several 10-15 year veterans, as well as all three of Deborah and Denis’s adult daughters who work in roles ranging from teaching to administration and marketing.
|1997||The Nature of Things, LLC is founded as a small preschool program for three to five year olds, housed in an addition built on the Gleeson residence in Nashua.|
Program moves to a fully outfitted childcare facility in Maplewood Plaza. Almost overnight, enrollment grows from 12 to 60 students.
At this time, 2nd Nature Academy is founded with a kindergarten and first grade class established. Over the next several years, overall enrollment in the early childhood and elementary programs continues to increase and grows up to roughly 180 students.
Denis and Deborah Gleeson purchase the Gregg property in Nashua, NH/Dunstable, MA, the former residence of NH Governor Hugh Gregg, with approximately 7 acres being put into conservation. The Gregg house is retrofitted to house the elementary school at this stage and 2nd Nature Academy moves to the new property and the program expands to house up to fifth grade.
The pasture is reclaimed to start a small farm on which to build the humane education program, beginning with four goats, two sheep, six alpaca, six ducks, and a dozen chickens.
Camp Lovewell (a co-ed, outdoor, summer day camp) is also founded at this time.
Meanwhile, Phase I of construction of the new campus begins on the other side of the property with healthy, high performance buildings and a new animal barn.
|2008||Camp Lovewell receives accreditation from the American Camp Association.|
The initially completed building is the first non-residential facility in NH to receive the LEED Certified Platinum Award for green building in the state of New Hampshire.
2nd Nature Academy officially moves to this newly established campus at 10 Groton Road.
The LEED Platinum Building additionally receives the 2010 Lean & Green Building Award from Business New Hampshire Magazine.
Phase II of construction for the main school building begins at 10 Groton Road, keeping the strict green standards of the LEED Platinum Building.
Phase II of construction concludes and the Maplewood Plaza facility closes as Nature’s Pathways Early Childhood program migrates to join 2nd Nature Academy on the new campus.
|2013||Mandarin Chinese is added to the robust foreign language program at 2nd Nature Academy, which has incorporated Spanish instruction since its foundation, further enhancing our 21st Century, global educational approach.|
The Enrichment Center @ 2nd Nature Academy and The Painted Turtle Art Studio are both founded to provide greater educational enrichment opportunities to the local community including science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics, and foreign languages.
The property at 9 Groton Road is purchased and earmarked for expanding the farming operations, growing the Enrichment Center @ 2nd Nature Academy, and providing a home for a future high school. An additional 10 acres are donated to conservation to the City of Nashua, to be used for ball fields and walking and biking trails along the expansion of the Rail Trail.
|2015||Founder Deborah Gleeson and The Nature of Things, LLC are awarded the 2015 SBA Woman Owned Business of the Year honor for both New Hampshire and New England.|
|2016||The Nature of Things, LLC is nominated for and is named a Finalist for Business of the Year Award at the 6th Annual Enterprise Bank Excellence Awards.|
Phase III of construction for the new elementary and middle school building is well underway, to accomodate enrollment and program growth. The new building will house kindergarten through grade 8, as well as an art/music room, school gym, exercise room, science lab, and technology lab. In addition to an early 2018 opening, upcoming plans include sports fields and increased open outdoor space.
As of end of 2017, Nature’s Pathways early childhood program has an enrollment of approximately 70 children, Camp Lovewell’s robust summer camp program draws in roughly 100 weekly campers, and 2nd Nature Academy Elementary and Middle School has an enrollment of 115 students. We are always looking forward to growing more and the next big adventure in education!
In the summer of 2018, after an intensive self-study process followed by an official accreditation visit, 2nd Nature Academy is awarded accreditation by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges.
The fall trimester sees both the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art building, as well as expansion into high school grades.