About The Birch School

since 2012

We are looking for students who want:

Mission and Vision

Our dedicated team of educators have been helping children find joy in learning for decades.  The Birch School has combined this depth of experience with the latest research about how kids learn best in our 21st century environment. 

Now, facing new challenges in health and safety, we have been adapting to the changing landscape and the evolving needs of students and their families. 

The Birch School is a child-centered learning community. Our curriculum arises from the common needs and interests of the students.  


Our students are empowered to take an active part in their education, through goal-planning meetings, student-led conferences, individualized plans. Our program supports differentiated learning opportunities.

Our role as teachers, coaches, and mentors, is to listen to the students, encourage them to be self-reflective, learn to communicate clearly, and help them to reveal their passions and goals.

We strongly believe in the inherent curiosity of young people.

We support and encourage them to seek out their interests.

Our History

  • We started as Free Spirit Nature Camp – a summer daycamp where the children inspired us with their mastery of skills that occurred when genuinely engaged in activities. We operated the camp from 2001 until 2019. In the early 2000’s, encouraged by enthusiastic parents, we began to explore what our program offerings might look like in a year round program.

  • In 2007, we created Watershed Learning Center, as a half day preschool. This was our first year-round programming. We used the outdoors intensively as our classroom,and designed ways to individualize each student’s learning. Our children’s parents saw how happy their children were, thriving and excelling in academic and creative pursuits.

  • We grew again in 2009 and began offering a full-day school program for a small group of elementary students, some full time and some part time. 

  • 2009 also saw us start our homeschool support services; providing assistance to families with their reporting and paperwork, as well as creating social opportunities, field trips and a homeschool nature program.

  • By 2012 we were ready for a larger space. We began our relationship with the Unitarian Congregation, agreeing to share their newly built “green” building in Rock Tavern. We expanded our offerings for homeschooled families, and grew our teaching team.

  • In 2014, in response to parent requests, we began our Full-Time School program in Rock Tavern: The Birch School. We have been offering this foundational program since.

  • In 2020 our team took on the challenge of adapting our offerings into a virtual program. We were quite successful in this endeavour and continue to incorporate virtual learning into our curriculum and philosophy

  • In 2022 We resumed full-time school with students in-person and virtual, as we measured ten years of growth and evolution.


As we learn to live in the new world of the 21st century, we feel it is important to re-think the way our children learn. We offer learning opportunities for students that are designed by and for them individually.  This customized learning approach helps them engage in their learning plans and projects with authentic and intrinsic interest.


We ask our students to freely agree to their quarterly learning goals and rely on students to help identify subject matter, methods and tools that interest them. Our staff stays committed to our students by staying informed about trends and research in “self-directed learning” so we continue to offer students the most current options for reaching our goals.


With great excitement, we welcome you to The Birch School!