As parents of three 2nd Nature Academy students, we cannot speak more highly of the school culture, leadership, teachers, staff and curriculum. Teachers, staff and school leaders communicate and coordinate well with one another and have developed strong relationships with our daughters (and us!) to better understand their needs and provide an optimal learning environment. The low student to teacher ratios combined with the inquiry-based curriculum has provided opportunities for our girls to be engaged in their learning process, work at their own pace and develop a love for reading and writing at young ages. In addition to a strong academic focus, our children are learning the competencies needed for future success such as empathy, self and group awareness, financial management and communication skills. Through nature walks, mindfulness meditation, movement breaks and role playing, they are learning how to manage stress and communicate with peers and adults in healthy ways.
At the end of the first grade, our now third grader was confidently presenting book reports in front of her class. By the end of the second grade, she was presenting without notecards. She also feels comfortable advocating for herself and communicating her needs to both teachers and peers. Our kindergartener is learning to be a problem-solver. By learning through play, she is independently assessing risk, building awareness and making her own decisions.
Most importantly, our daughters are happy at 2nd Nature Academy. They feel respected, heard and understood within this school community. At the end of the day, that is our measure of success!
Lauren & Rick Hajjar
Parents of a preschooler, kindergartener, and third grader
2nd Nature Academy is an educational experience unlike any other in the area. My son and daughter both began in the Nature’s Pathways childcare program at 4 months old. I feel they are so lucky to be “growing up” in this close-knit, nurturing family atmosphere. The small class sizes allow teachers to learn about each child’s personality, learning style, strengths and challenges. The staff is approachable and willing to collaborate with families to ensure that a child’s needs are met. Their hands-on, active approach to learning keeps kids engaged and excited about their education – never once have my kids said “I don’t want to go to school today.”
Another significant difference in the education at 2nd Nature Academy is the emphasis placed on social and emotional growth. Classes engage in service learning projects and learn the importance of giving back to the community and giving to those less fortunate. Kids develop critical thinking skills and solve their own interpersonal conflicts with support and guidance from the staff. They learn the importance of respect, communication and working as a team. As we teach and reinforce these same values at home, I can see these skills emerging in my 7-year old son; and as a result I see increased self-confidence and greater independence.
My family considers the 2nd Nature Academy community to be an extension of our family – in addition to receiving an excellent education, my kids know they are safe and cared about by the entire faculty and staff, and they look forward to being there each day!
Parent of a preschooler and first grader
2nd Nature Academy is an amazing school with exceptional teachers and staff. The school embraces the idea that students have different learning styles and focuses on teaching students how to think critically rather than to simply memorize facts to pass tests. My daughter was encouraged to ask questions and is taught how to research, investigate, and apply reasoning skills using the knowledge she has to find the answer herself. Moreover, the low student to teacher ratio allows the teachers to give one on one attention and modify lesson plans so all students are being challenged and are learning at their own pace.
Beyond the exceptional academic benefits 2nd Nature Academy has to offer, it also teaches other life skills and promotes similar values to what we instill at home. My daughter was taught to respect fellow classmates, adults, animals, and the environment, as well as what it means to be a responsible member of her community. I couldn’t be happier with the overall education my daughter received at 2nd Nature Academy!
Parent of alumna
I'm an alumnus of 2nd Nature Academy. My mother enrolled me in The Nature of Things childcare (now known as Nature’s Pathways) at eight weeks old and I stayed there through 5th grade at 2nd Nature Academy. I've just turned 13 and am about to start 8th grade at the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, NH and I still notice how much 2nd Nature Academy has benefited me. Their advanced classes gave me a boost for the complex math that I am currently learning, in addition to the environmental science classes I took in 7th grade. One skill I learned was how to do a project. I was always challenged with many hard projects but now I find the hard projects are easier for me manage now that I had that experience. 2nd Nature's curriculum has also benefited me in gaining merit badges for the Boy Scouts, helping me gain my current rank of Life Scout.
Some of the things I miss since leaving is not just going outside, but learning outside. I had many experiences of seeing many of nature's systems firsthand. One experience I will never forget is going on a hike to a vernal pool and catching some bizarre species such as fairy shrimp. I went home that day and started telling my family about vernal pools and fairy shrimp. They just looked at me blankly and asked me what I was talking about. They had no clue what I was talking about. One reason I always remember that story is because I finally knew something they didn't, but I also realized that I was learning about things most people didn't even know existed. 2nd Nature Academy gave me the base I needed to make it to where I am today.