Director's Message

Welcome to Calvary Nursery School!

At the end of school year, I like to reflect on the year that has passed and work on my vision for the school year ahead. I like to have a “big” idea for the year, which simply boils down to, "What do I want the children to take away from our time together?" Interestingly, the big idea has never been, “I want them to know the phonetic sounds to all the letters” or “work on the letter of the week” or even “color in between the lines”. My big idea has consistently been, I want the children to learn to love to learn. I think of it as, learning for learning’s sake. Learning because they (and I) asked a question and we wanted to know more. I have found that when you listen to what children are asking, they will want to listen to the answer. When they ask “why”?  and you honestly reply “I don’t know…let’s investigate” they are ready learners.

This sort of directed but open teaching allows for countless topics to be discussed and exploration way beyond what you might consider. One year a discussion about setting up our dramatic play to be about kings and queens led us down the path of democracy, voting (something we do a great deal) elections, presidents vs. monarchs (to which they said “monarchs like the butterflies that migrate to Mexico”? The point being that learning is everywhere the children are, if we are observing, listening, engaging them and guiding them in their journey of discovery.

Claudia Murphy

Director & Head Teacher

Our Mission

Our mission is to nurture the development of each child in a safe and inspirational learning environment dedicated to the Episcopal values of faith, hope, love, service and forgiveness.


Calvary Nursery School welcomes and encourages children of all backgrounds and traditions, with no denominational expectations or requirements.

Program Highlights

*  Ages 3-5 Years Old


*  2, 3 or 5-Day Programs

*  8:30 - 1:30pm School Day

*  Extended Day Offered Until 3:30pm

*  Low Teacher/Student Ratio

*  Weekly Parent Communications

*  Indoor/Outdoor Classrooms


*  All-Weather Outdoor Time

*  Multiple Enrichment Opportunities:

    Spanish Integration

     Nature Education 

     Music & Movement

     Collaboration with New England

     Science and Sailing (NESS)

     and More

About Calvary

Our little school by the sea was founded in 1994 by group of parents from Calvary Episcopal Church who wanted to create a "dream preschool". They believed that complementary teaching philosophies, including Waldorf and the Reggio Emilia approach, would provide a well-rounded curriculum and allow each child the opportunity to learn in an environment best-suited to teaching to their strengths. In addition, instilling values of faith, hope, love, service and forgiveness were important in providing children with a base from which to interact and go forward in the world. 


Since inception, the school has evolved but has remained steadfast in honoring the traditions and philosophies instilled, which have influenced the culture at Calvary to this very day.



The preschool years stand as a bridge between home and grade school. We choose not to hurry children across the bridge, but allow them to proceed at their own pace through the medium that they enjoy most, play. The importance of play cannot be understated. We offer children unrestricted but purposefully planned opportunities for them to explore the many facets of their world. We offer support when needed, but as teachers we are observers, taking note of how and why children react or receive what we present. This sort of collaborative teaching makes children engaged learners at the ground level, setting them up for wanting to learn for learning’s sake.

Natural Aesthetics & Appreciation for Nature

Because young children so deeply imitate and absorb their surroundings, at Calvary, special care is taken to create an environment that is beautiful, harmonious and secure. We keep the natural aesthetic in all that we do; from the use of simple hand crafted toys in the classroom to placing importance on the outdoor environment and the traditional celebrations of seasonal holidays. 

Cultivating Confidence

A predictable daily and weekly rhythm is established at the beginning of the school year to help children feel secure and in control. As the year progresses, a change in the daily activity requires a class vote. This is the start of the children learning about their civic duty.   


Weekly Music & Movement and Chapel time are included for all children, among many other enrichment opportunities such as Spanish integration, yoga and mindfulness, community outings and special visits, and of course, many adventures in the historic Stonington Borough.


Our Goals

  • To foster in each child a lively sense of wonder and joy in discovering the world.

  • To establish an atmosphere of respect for self, others and the environment.

  • To foster an atmosphere where children feel enthusiasm and responsibility for work and self-directed play.

  • To provide ample opportunity to relate to the natural world and to the people and work of the town around us.

  • To provide meaningful activities where process is more important than product.

  • To support the child's imaginative life and inner spirituality through story, song and celebration.

  • To be supportive of parents, encouraging growth and involvement, and honest communication.

 © 2021 Calvary Nursery School

27 Church Street, Stonington, CT 06378


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