A History of The Children’s Schoolhouse

The Children’s Schoolhouse had its beginnings in 1999 as a pre-school program in the home of its founder, Kirsti Huotari Ryder. Strongly influenced by her teaching experience at the Children’s School of Arts and Science (CSAS a small private Pre-K to 8thschool which served the mid-coast area for over twenty years) Kirsti credits its founder and director, Cindy Dougherty , as her mentor. Cindy’s commitment to “unlocking the creative potential” and celebrating the uniqueness found in each individual provided the driving philosophy for the Children’s Schoolhouse.

Through her teaching experience at the CSAS, Kirsti also learned how a small school can exist that offers a nurturing home-school like environment, yet still offers the structure and curriculum of a more traditional school setting.

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  • To create an environment where students feel comfortable, curious and inspired to learn.
  • To identify and celebrate the unique qualities found in each child.
  • To provide a personalized academic program that challenges the students to succeed at their level.
  • To maintain a schedule that is structured yet flexible.
  • To create opportunities for healthy living that include physical exercise, motor skills, and good nutrition.


The five points on the star of the sand dollar are symbolic of the five aspects of a person that are acknowledged in offering a “Wholistic” Education.

  • Mind …cognitive/logical
  • Body …physical
  • Soul…emotional
  • Spirit…faith/belief
  • Community…social

When all of these aspects are considered we have a greater understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world; cultivating acceptance, respect and compassion, while learning to be students of life.