- Davis Community School
In December 2018, the Renaissance School, a private elementary school in Shelburne, closed with little warning, leaving parents scrambling to find classrooms for their children midway through the school year. A group of those parents approached Teresa Davis, asking if she would consider starting a K-2 school. Davis is the founder of the Davis Studio, which has provided art camps, after-school programs and academic enrichment classes to kids since 2003 and a preschool program since 2016. Davis obliged and in January, the Davis Community School opened its doors to 10 students. The school — which is inspired by the student-centered Reggio Emilia philosophy that embraces self-directed learning and views adults as mentors and guides — will continue next year with one mixed-age classroom for grades 1-3 to accommodate current students. Davis hopes to add a kindergarten and fourth grade the following year. Students are immersed in both the arts and the outdoors, and have language instruction in both Spanish and French. Schools have become increasingly academic for younger children, often tamping down kids' ability to express their "essential self," said Davis. A primary focus at Davis Community School is to teach subjects in a way that is "playful and joyful."