The Upper Unit Breaks Out

Upper Unit students started the new school year with a teambuilding exercise. They worked together to solve a series of puzzles and open a set of locks in a limited amount of time.

This “breakout box” provides an immersive experience all students can benefit from. This type of learning helps develop critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

It gets the students talking, thinking, and laughing. It’s also a great way for the Upper Unit to kick off the school year!

Posted in McGuffey, Middle School, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary

Back to School #36

For the thirty-sixth year McGuffey is happy to welcome students and teachers back to school. In June we had the pleasure of hosting many of the founding families for Janet Kretschmer’s Celebration of Life. What a treat to hear about all the work that went into starting the school. I wonder if they knew what kind of legacy they were starting.

We are adding ten new families and fifteen new students across the school to our learning community. I am happy to be entering my sixth year as Head of School.

I love to think about all the people who have contributed with love and kindness to the life of McGuffey over the years.

At some point, parents and staff envisioned and built the well-used picnic pavilion, oversaw the pouring of the driveway that connects the Main Building with the Annex, made countless trips to Ikea, researched and implemented our Montessori transition and have guarded the vision and values through governance. Just this past weekend parents came in to clean, weed, install pavers, and sew. We look forward to seeing our new families add their own unique blend of talents and skills.

How lucky we are to continue the work that Janet and so many dedicated parents started 36 years ago.

Here’s to a fantastic 2018-19 school year!

Nancy Hawthorne
Head of School


Posted in Uncategorized

Job Openings for Fall 2018

We are pleased to announce that we have several positions open for this fall. For more information go to the Employment section under the About tab.

  • Full-time Primary Assistant (hourly), 8:30-4pm five days/week
  • Part-time Primary Afternoon Assistant (hourly), Noon-4pm four days/week
  • Part-time Lower Elementary Assistant (hourly), 8:30-11:30am 2-4 days/week
  • Early Care Staff (hourly), 7-9am 3-5 days/week
  • Primary Extended Day Staff, 3:15-5:45pm 2-5 days/week

The Primary Classroom includes PreKindergarten and Kindergarten and Lower Elementary includes Grades 1/2/3. These positions are also eligible for regular substitute work for additional hours. Applications are being accepted immediately until the positions are full. We hope to start interviewing immediately.

We are always happy to receive applications for Extended Care and Substitute Teachers.

Posted in Uncategorized

Preschool Playground begins Monday!


Our summer Preschool Playground program begins on Monday, June 4th, at 10am! This program is for children aged six and under. Please check here for more information.

Posted in announcements, community, McGuffey, Primary

Janet Kretschmer: Celebration of Life

As most of you know, Janet Kretschmer was our founding Head of School, Lead Teacher and McGuffey visionary. Janet passed away last August after a long-fought battle with cancer. After Janet’s retirement in 2011, she volunteered every day in the Primary Classroom which two of her daughters—Wendy and Susie—founded.

You are invited to come celebrate her magnificence in person or in spirit on June 2nd, 2018. Please write down the date on a 3×5 card, and tuck it lovingly in your pocket.

1-3pm, McGuffey Open House: Whether you’re a friend of alum, take an opportunity to visit the spectacular legacy Janet leaves behind.

At Tom & Wendy’s house:

5–7pm, Dinner and drinks: Come early if you want more time to visit with friends.
7–8pm, Music/social hour: Papa Joe and other musicians will be playing, also a great time to visit with friends.
8–9pm, Memories: A time where people can reflect and tell stories. Open to all, so feel free to speak!
9pm, Lighting of lanterns/luminaries in Janet’s garden. A time to “send” your message to an amazing lady.

If you are unable to attend, but wish to send a message to Janet, we will write them on a luminary/lantern and light it in your honor. Please email any words from afar to:

To RSVP go to this event on Facebook: or for those of you not on Facebook, email


Donations in Janet’s Memory
Monetary gifts can be made in Janet’s memory using the Paypal link below. You do not need to have a Paypal account to use this.

Posted in Uncategorized

Water Day!

A time honored tradition, Water Day happens near the end of the year and is the only day water can be added to the sand box and kitchen. We have whisks, buckets, a sprinkler, water tables, and even PVS pipe to build intricate water tunnels. It is a day of joy and sunshine!

Posted in Uncategorized

Plants and the Primary Garden

For the past month, the Primary students have been studying plants. Spring is the perfect time to talk about plants as they begin growing all around us.

We began with roots and stems. Roots are typically the first part to emerge from a seed, drawing in water and nutrients and keeping the plants firmly in place. We had many examples of roots on our shelf—beets, radishes, carrots, and turnips. We also discussed stems, moving water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. We put celery in a jar of red water which allows us to observe the movement of water from the jar to the top of the celery.

Our study continued with flowers, seeds, and fruit. We dissected a lily to help learn the names of the parts of a flower. We talked about delicious fruit and how it encourages animals to eat and carry the seeds to help more plants grow. We ate some mango to sweeten the conversation!

When we are in our outdoor classroom, we have been observing the plants as they emerge from the ground and the leaves appearing on the trees. Simply being in the outdoors can be one of the greatest learning experiences we can provide!

One of our parents, Ashley, helped us plant seeds to grow vegetables and herbs in our classroom garden. Some, like lettuce, will grow quickly enough for us to harvest and taste a little bit of our crop before the end of school. Others, like melons, will grow all summer and be ready for the Primary class next fall.  Everyone will help take care of our garden and watch the plants grow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Kindergarten Community Field Trips

As part of our Social Studies unit on Communities, the kindergarten class took two field trips, one to City Hall and the other to Patterson’s Cafe. The kindergartners are hard at work developing their own “imaginary community” so they were full of questions at both locations. At the city building they got to see how decisions are made about development, roads, utilities, and beyond. They were especially interested when City Manager, Douglas Elliot, shared the plans for the new swimming pool at the Oxford Community Park. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the City of Oxford for taking the time out of their day to host our group.

Our second community trip was a walking field trip to Patterson’s Cafe. Building on the concepts discussed in the classroom about community, jobs, stores, and money. Now we had the chance to see how a real business runs.

We began by having lunch, which was delicious! And enjoyed a lot of laughs. Then each child had a chance to look at their bill, assess how much they needed to pay, and learn how to leave a tip.

We then got a behind-the-scenes tour with Michelle Patterson who showed us how many tables the restaurant has, the kitchen, stock room, and dishwasher. We even got a chance to see just how big and cold the refrigerator is by walking in!

Special thanks to Mike and Michelle Patterson for cooking a delicious lunch and giving a fantastic tour!

Posted in Uncategorized

Families and Communities

Once we’ve met our basic human needs, we begin thinking about how to enrich our lives. One of the most fundamental ways we do this is to create a family.

In this day and age families look very different. Some children have two parents, while other have one. Some children live with grandparents or aunt or uncles. Some children have brother and sisters. Others have step-brothers and sisters or step-parents. Sometimes children are adopted. Pets and close friends can be part of your family!

Regardless of what a family looks like, we agreed that families are filled with the people we love.

When people come together to share a space, interest, or values, they are a community. We are a part of many different communities—our hometown, hobbies, sports teams, or spiritual group. Even our school is a community!

Posted in Uncategorized

Baby Animals and Spring

Spring is here! Spring, along with baby animals, is our science topic this week. We have been taking note of the signs of spring around us—warmer weather, rain storms, spots of green peeking out of the ground, and many birds returning to our outdoor classroom. We also discussed that spring is a time of new life for both plants and animals. This is a time when plants emerge from seeds and many animal babies are born. Next on the list, is a walk around our school to look for more signs of spring.

As the weather continues to warm (and the snow finally stops!), we will have the chance to see these signs of life up close. We will begin our discussion of plants as we start our garden. We will even have some baby animals visit our classroom! These last few months are going to be very exciting for our young scientists.

Posted in Uncategorized