The Montessori School of the Berkshires strives to teach environmental responsibility while practicing it. We are one of the first LEED for Schools registered campuses in the Northeast. Our building is set on 40 wooded acres, which allows for ample outdoor exploration. Much like Maria Montessori’s method of hands-on learning through all of our senses, children feel the difference in air quality and see the benefits of natural sunlight. They will, therefore, better understand our impact on the environment.
Any Montessori classroom should be designed to meet the needs, interests, abilities, and development of the children in the class. The teachers design and adapt the environment with this community of children in mind, rapidly modifying the selection of educational materials available, the physical layout, and the tone of the class to best fit the ever-changing needs of the children. Our 9000 square foot building, which opened in the spring of 2010, was designed with Montessori philosophy in mind. In 2017 we built a 7300 square foot addition, which includes a dedicated library, a new classroom for the Adolescent Experience, an additional Elementary Program classroom, performing arts space, a visual arts studio, and a multipurpose room.
Building & Site
Acoustics – Specially designed wall systems and a quiet HVAC system improve acoustics and create a more productive learning environment for children.
Thermal Comfort – Comfortable indoor temperatures enhance productivity and keep students more alert.
Water efficiency– Low flow sinks and dual flush toilets reduce total water use by as much as 50%.
Materials with locally produced content– Buying locally reduces the school’s carbon footprint and supports the local economy.
Materials with recycled content – Products have the highest possible recycled content.
Forest Certified Lumber– Lumber and other wood products from wood that has been grown and harvested sustainably.
Recycling – Students’ involvement in the recycling program teaches responsible habits.
Daylighting – Solar tubes and large windows allow daylight to stream in, reducing energy costs and improving student concentration and performance.
Lightshelves – Lightshelves bounce sunlight deep into the room and provide even natural light distribution.
Sunshading – Roof overhangs and other devices shade glass and prevent overheating.
Air Quality – All paints, adhesives, and materials have low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Solar Walls – The sun’s energy pre-heats fresh air for the ventilation system.
Energy Efficient Lighting – Remote sensors, individual controls and task lighting greatly reduce electricity costs and enhance learning conditions.
Mold Prevention – Adequate ventilation and low humidity inhibits mold growth.
New Buildings Institute – Advanced Buildings Core Performance criteria.
Central Courtyard – Provides a free-flow between indoor and outdoor learning spaces and deepens students’ connection to the natural world. Includes patios, gardening plots, Zen meditation garden, and class meeting spaces.
Multiple Ecosystems – Campus designed for the diversity that occurs in natural transitions between lawn, open meadow, orchards, gardens, woodlands and wetlands.
Rain garden – Serves as the entry circle centerpiece and provides a natural water runoff solution. Hosts indigenous plants and essential habitat.
Water Re-Use Cistern – Roof gutters lead into an underground cistern so water can be used for irrigation around the property and in the gardens.
Below ground infiltration of storm water – By design, all storm water is infiltrated back into the ground.