Our Mission

The mission of the Giving Tree School is to encourage and respect every child, parent, and teacher through caring interactions and a stimulating environment. Every child brings a unique set of needs and interests to learning. Giving Tree responds to each child by enriching and supporting each stage of the child’s development, carefully building depth, confidence, and skills at that stage before moving on to the next. Our unique setting and outstanding teachers are able to support emerging literacy, math, music, art, social, and physical abilities in an environment rich with nature and problem solving experiences. Giving Tree is committed to fostering active, hands-on early learning experiences that are playful and purposeful, providing a foundation for a lifelong love of learning.


History of the School

Giving Tree began as a family day care home on the Northfield Mount Hermon School campus in 1974 and continued to care for children there until 1977 when it was licensed as a nursery school. Giving Tree then moved to its second home, also the new home of the school's founders, Betsy Evans and Jeffrey Coulson. In 1981, Betsy and Jeff became the Incorporating Officers of Giving Tree, acquiring a not-for-profit status for the school. Due to the difficulties of negotiating a long and hilly dirt road to the school, the Board of Directors acquired a loan from FmHA for a more accessible school site. Alan D. Wallace (a Giving Tree parent) and crew constructed our new schoolhouse with loving care for every detail, and in 1983, Giving Tree families moved our equipment and began to landscape the lovely new playground. A crew from Franklin County's CETA program built many of the adventuresome structures that parents and children helped to design, and our vision and dream were complete. In the Fall of '83, families old and new gathered to celebrate, planting flowers and the small maple tree that grows in front of the school- a symbol of love and growth to remind us of our task.

What Makes Giving Tree Special.....

  • Giving Tree School is a nonprofit early learning center for children ages 2.9 through 5 years. Children and teachers participate together in a developmental curriculum designed to foster socioemotional, cognitive, and physical growth, as well as respect for individual expression and experience. Recognizing that children are by nature active learners who like to touch, feel, explore, and manipulate objects in many ways, staff collaborate to develop a curriculum that is challenging for all learners. Children are encouraged to engage in parallel and cooperative play with others, while being supported in a process of making responsible choices for play, for play is the work of children—it is their way of learning about their world. Throughout all of the children's activities we emphasize problem-solving and individual questioning, thinking, and creating. The needs of each child are central to the curriculum and are supported by the environment, the Daily Routine and the teachers. Our hope is that play will be great fun as well as constructively challenging.

  • Giving Tree's curriculum is based on the HighScope Developmental Continuum, with major areas of development focused on Initiative and Social Relations, Creative Representation, Music and Movement, Language and Literacy, Math and Logic.

  • Giving Tree's playground is a certified Outdoor Classroom by the National Arbor Day Foundation. With the school's wonderful rural setting, exploration of nature and ecology are a large part of the curriculum. Regular activities include nature hikes and farm visits. In addition, the playground features climbing structures, a zip line, swings, a large sand play area, a dramatic playhouse, a dirt digging area, a building area and water trough.

  • Giving Tree School is NAEYC and High/Scope accredited, meeting the highest standards for early childhood educational programs.

  • Giving Tree School is open to all families. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, culture, political beliefs, marital status, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.