About Us

The People’s Institute has been a center for educational, recreational and social services for Northampton and surrounding communities for more than a hundred years. Over the last thirty, our focus has been on providing quality, affordable, childcare. Today we offer child care and educational options for children from fifteen months old through the eighth grade.

Our programs and staff are licensed/qualified by EEC (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and care). We are staffed by warm, caring, competent personnel who recognize the unique qualities of each child and support each child’s positive development of self-worth, self-esteem and learning.


Statement of Philosophy

We believe…

  • that children learn best in an environment that respects their unique pattern of growth and development. Careful observations, evaluations, and positive, individual attention are important components of our program.
  • that the environment must be physically and emotionally safe if children are to develop trust in their world. We remain alert to potential dangers, guide children in safe behaviors, and treat both children and adults with care.
  • that children enjoy and benefit from the company of others. We encourage the development of social skills by arranging opportunities for small and large group activities, and allowing time for conversation and play between adults and children.
  • that children desire independence. We provide an environment rich with success and help children develop a positive self-concept. We teach problem solving and self-help skills. Children learn to care for materials and equipment. They take responsibility for many aspects of their classroom.
  • in a democratic classroom. The children are active participants in the program’s structure. They have much input into the development of classroom rules and procedures. The teachers guide the children in establishing faimess and rationality within their own rules and consequences.
  • that children are naturally creative. Through guided activities in art, music, dance, and dramatic play, we encourage children to explore their own potential. Each person’s creative expression is unique and valued.
  • that children develop their own ability to move by moving. We plan time for large and small muscle activities. Our playground is spacious, and our classrooms are frlled with a variety of materials for manipulation.
  • in families. We see ourselves as a part of an extended family, working with parents to provide the very best care for their children. We are responsive to the concerns and ideas of parents, and we encourage parent involvement in all aspects of our school.