The Amherst Day School, known as The Little Red Schoolhouse, is a preschool for children ages 3.5 to 5 years. The school itself is located on the campus of Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The school employs a theme-based curriculum in which students are encouraged to learn through their own natural inquisitiveness.

We hope that this blog will answer any questions you have. Please do not hesitate to contact the Director, Therese Ross, at (413) 253-5259 for more information or to arrange a visit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008



The Amherst Day School, a preschool on the campus of Amherst College, was first established in 1936. Since there was no school-building on the campus, classes were held in the Amherst College Gym.

In 1937, Amherst College alumnus James Turner and his family donated a small brick building located on the eastern part of the college's campus to the Amherst Day school so that children from the town would have their own place to learn and play together.

Today, the Amherst Day School operates under the name, "The Little Red Schoolhouse" and resides in the original building that Turner and his family donated to the community. The school continues the tradition of growth and play, offering a warm and loving environment in which children of Amherst and the surrounding communities can experience the joy of learning.

The Little Red Schoolhouse is administered by an independent Board of Trustees. The members of the Board are usually parents of children at the school.

The Little Red Schoolhouse Staff

Therese Ross begins her sixth year as Director of The Little Red Schoolhouse. She is Director certified by the Office of Childcare Services in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and has previously taught in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and in the Boston area. She brings to the program her interest in conflict resolution, group games, and science discovery. Therese’s daughters, Tulsa and Ella Kipling, are LRSH alumnae.

Christine O’Donnell begins her third year of teaching at Little Red. She has many years of experience in early intervention and classroom teaching, having worked in Holyoke and Northampton. Christine is a graduate of Westfield State College and brings her enthusiasm for math and literacy to The Little Red Schoolhouse. Christine’s son, Zach, is a LRSH alumnus.

Sarah Hodgkins joins the Little Red staff this year. Sarah attended The Little Red Schoolhouse as a child. After many years in the architecture/design field, Sarah recently earned her teaching certificate from Greenfield Community College. Sarah's art and designs interests are a terrific addition to our staff. Sarah, her husband, and three children live in Amherst.

Wendy Plummer joins us as music teacher for her sixth year.

Janet Williams, twenty year veteran at Little Red, begins her first year as Librarian of the book collection named in her honor. Janet will join the class each week to share new books and provide literature connections for the curriculum.

Our Philosophy

At The Little Red Schoolhouse, we employ a theme-based curriculum that emphasizes four areas of development:

1. Social: Our social objective is to build a “mini-community” at Little Red. Through large and small group activities and games, each child is accepted and respected for his or her own uniqueness; we offer a safe environment where each child feels the confidence and freedom to share with the group those things which make him or her special.

2. Emotional: The Little Red Schoolhouse provides a supportive setting in which the child can develop self-confidence, empathy, and the ability to share with others. We foster independence as well as group awareness.

3. Physical: Little Red provides opportunities to develop large motor coordination through active play, both indoors and out. We also provide a wide range of small muscle activities to strengthen existing skills while providing opportunities for further development.

4. Academics: The Little Red Schoolhouse offers exposure to a variety of learning experiences. Through stories, songs, drama, and conversation we present a variety of reading readiness, math, social awareness, and experimental science activities. Although we do provide teacher-directed experiences, the teachers also serve as resources to guide and stimulate the child’s natural inquisitiveness. Throughout the year we include traditions from various cultures of the world in our program, especially those represented in our school population. A top priority when choosing curriculum materials, or adding to our extensive library, is to encourage awareness of diversity.

About Us

The Little Red Schoolhouse offers a warm, loving atmosphere where young children learn by playing. We provide a secure environment in which children can extend their creative play skills especially in group play. Our theme-based curriculum includes integrated units addressing topics of interest to young children.

We are committed to the goal of expanding awareness of multi-racial and multi-cultural diversity in philosophy, program, staffing, and enrollment.

Parents are also an important part of our program. They are free to visit and participate frequently in all aspects of The Little Red Schoolhouse. Along with college students and other visitors, parents help the children learn about people of different backgrounds, ages, and genders.