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The Austen Riggs Nursery School

The Austen Riggs Nursery School fosters positive early learning experiences for local children, ages 2.9 years to kindergarten.

Austen Riggs Center Nursery School in Stockbridge, MA.
In 1955 Joan Erikson described the motivation for establishing a nursery school within a psychiatric setting as a way for patients to experience childhood as observers and as participants. Here patients can work as teachers aides' under the supervision of the school’s director.
Welcome to the Austen Riggs Nursery School
Below you will find details about our philosophy, schedule, and cost.
Our Philosophy
It is the Nursery School's mission to provide a respectful, loving, nurturing environment to promote self-confidence, belonging, creativity, critical thinking skills, real-world experiences, and motivation for the love of learning.
Our children have incredible potential to be thoughtful, responsible, charitable, civic-minded, contributing members of our community. With our guidance and support, we empower them to connect with their potential by providing a foundation of opportunities to pique their curiosity and explore their interests.
To that end, we have a unique opportunity to provide the same supportive and nurturing environment for the staff who come to work with us. By providing this safe space, we create an experience for them that allows their growth and potential to flourish. Our professional teaching staff role model teamwork, developmentally appropriate practices, and quality program planning and curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and exploration through relationship building.
We align with the belief that every child be provided a solid foundation of social emotional skills which is done through the Second STEP Program. We practice yoga and mindfulness, continued English language acquisition as well as Spanish, science exploration, music and movement, arts, mathematics, and cultural studies. We assess each child for their individual abilities and design curriculum plans to meet their challenges and build on their strengths and areas of interest.
The children are exposed to hands-on experiences in ceramics, woodworking, fiber arts, gardening, theater, and visual arts provided by our professional Riggs Activities staff.
We ask parents to join us in this journey of exploration and curiosity, and to share in the joys of childhood.
School Schedule
The Austen Riggs Nursery School academic year runs from September through June, with a July Summer program available. Enrollment for this school year is closed, but if you are interested in being on a waiting list, please contact Director Sarah Muil at 413.931.5288 or fill out a waiting list form below.
Your child must be at least 2.9 years old to be able to attend the school. Half-day and full-day enrollments are available. We ask that your child sign up for a minimum of four half days or four full days.
In general, the Austen Riggs Nursery School follows the Berkshire Hills Regional School District calendar. When the Berkshire Hills Regional School District closes due to inclement weather, the Austen Riggs Nursery School will be closed.
Drop off: 8:15-8:45 a.m.
Morning session: 8:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Half-day pick up: 12:15-12:45 p.m.
Afternoon session: 12:45-3:30 p.m.
Full-day pick up: 3:30-4:00 p.m.
**Please pick up your child prior to 4:00 p.m.
$51.00/day for half-day enrollment
$51.00/day for full-day enrollment
Payment Schedule
Tuition is billed monthly for scheduled enrollment days, even if your child is absent. For any issues related to finances, please contact Donna Plankey in the Austen Riggs Center Finance Office at 413.931.5207.
Checks payable to: Austen Riggs Center with the Nursery School in the memo line.
If you would like to pay by credit card, please call our Finance Office.
Scholarships and fee reduction forms are available upon request.
Now accepting state vouchers as a form of payment. For more information on applying to the program:

Contact Us

If you have questions or would like to be added to the waitlist, use the contact form below. You can also contact Director Sarah Muil at 413.931.5288 or by email at
Student Artwork
Student Artwork

When Your Child is Accepted

You will need to provide a $250 non-refundable deposit to be used toward your full tuition cost.

We will plan a visit for your child to engage in the program. There will be a mandatory orientation to attend, and an enrollment packet will be emailed to you to have completed and returned at orientation. You will be asked to provide a copy of your child’s physical at the time of enrollment (must be dated within 1 year of the program start date).