The Center School

The Center School Photo #1 - Center School students are immersed in rigor and play in balanced abundance. This 3rd/4th grade is heading out to their "Woods Spot"--a location in the adjacent conservation area where the class spends time most afternoons. Woods spots become a nexus of social and academic learning, where commerce, governance, and community emerge organically.
The Center School Photo #2 - 4th & 5th grade students read in the classroom loft. The day's schedule includes small group work, collaboration, project exploration and experiential, inquiry-based learning. It also includes quiet, individual time for students to regroup and refresh.
The Center School Photo #3 - 3rd grade students collaborate on an assignment. Small group, experiential project work is a primary focus at the Center School. However core academics---reading, writing and math are typically taught in groups of 5-9 students.
The Center School Photo #4 - A preschool class acts out their favorite story at the weekly All School gathering. Two preschool classrooms---one for older and one for youngers allow for a great deal of play, growth, experimenting, socializing and learning.
The Center School Photo #5 - 6th grade teacher, Jenn, is photobombed by her students. Mutual respect, warmth, a playful approach & clear, rigorous expectations form the foundation our student-teacher connection.
The Center School Photo #6 - Margaret and her third graders play tag. Students & teachers play together at the Center School. All students have 60 minutes of outside time a day. Structured games are balanced with free exploration time, especially in the large forest that borders the school.
The Center School Photo #7 - Two 4th grade students work on measurement together in math. The Center School recognizes that there are many different learning styles represented in a classroom of children. The teachers are experts at helping each child develop their best strengths & challenges through multi-modal approaches.
The Center School Photo #8 - Students share, problem solve and laugh a lot during the weekly All School gathering. Each week, students facilitate the All School gathering. There is often a theme, which may include opportunities to costume or participate in a school-wide game show. Classes share academic work and the school always sings together.
The Center School Photo #9 - Older & younger students play together on Fridays at All School Games time. The Center School recognizes the advantages of having a wide range of students learning through similar, progressive approaches. Middle schoolers are paired with a preschool or primary age student for work & play throughout the year.
The Center School Photo #10 - A 6th grader shows his math fair project. At the Center School, teachers recognize that all students benefit from many choices to make curriculum accessible, vibrant & challenging for almost any kind of learner.
  • Rigorous Education for Deep Thinkers and Creative Spirits The Center School is a loving community that celebrates each child`s unique personality, intelligence, and passion.
  • Our school is a responsive learning environment, offering rigor and play in balanced abundance.
  • Students emerge from our program with the skills and self-possession to be reflective, empathetic, and engaged citizens of our world.  Preschool through 8th grade, since 1981.

School Overview

School Membership(s)School Assoc.Other school association(s)
Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
Religious AffiliationNonsectarian
Grades OfferedGrades Prekindergarten-8
Year Founded1981

Student Body

Total Students142 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 23%
Students by Grade The Center School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers26 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio5:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size20 students
Classroom Dress CodeCasual

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineFeb. 15 / Sep. 1 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost$16,000
Tuition NotesPreschool tuition on different scale, depending on 3, 4 or 5 day enrollment: $6,615 to $11,025. Tuition differential for K-5th and 6-8th. Financial aid available for K-8th grades
% on Financial Aid
Average Financial Aid Grant$4,000
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions DirectorJane Stephenson


Total Sports Offered8 sports
SportsClimbing, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Rock Climbing, Snowboarding, Soccer, Swimming, Ultimate FrisbeeClimbingFigure Skating,
Freestyle SkiingRock Climbing,
SwimmingUltimate Frisbee,


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.2 extracurriculars
ExtracurricularsExtra-curric.Arts and Music Programs:
Middle School Choir

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Middle School Soccer Team

School Notes

  • academic and social learning
  • multi-age classrooms
  • integrated arts
  • progressive approach
  • collaborative problem-solving
  • joyful classes
  • successful graduates
  • excellent student-teacher ratio
  • individualized challenge
  • nature and environmental education
  • preschool through 8th grade Spanish

Profile last updated:

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  • School Location Miles Grades Students
  • Northampton
    Grades: K-6 | 256 students
    17.2 miles
    33 Prospect Street
    Northampton, MA 01063
    (413) 585-3270
    17.2 K-6
  • Amherst
    The Common School
    Alternative School
    Grades: PK-6 | 103 students
    14.2 miles
    521 S. Pleasant St
    Amherst, MA 01002
    (413) 256-8989
    14.2 PK-6
  • Hadley
    The Hartsbrook School
    Special Program Emphasis
    Grades: K-12 | 284 students
    16.9 miles
    193 Bay Road
    Hadley, MA 01035
    (413) 586-1908
    16.9 K-12
  • Arlington
    Special Program Emphasis
    Grades: K-9 | 142 students
    74.1 miles
    5 Lowell Ave.
    Arlington, MA 02476
    (781) 729-3489
    74.1 K-9
  • Hingham
    Grades: PK-8 | 300 students
    89.1 miles
    56 Burditt Ave
    Hingham, MA 02043
    (781) 749-0746
    89.1 PK-8

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (2 reviews)
The Center School has been the most supportive possible environment for my kids (grades 5th and 7th.) They both started in kindergarten and have been understood, challenged and expanded in every subsequent year. The staff is incredibly warm and talented and the structure of the school, the community and the ethos all combine in what often feels like "dream come true" education. My kids are both in the car before I am, waiting impatiently to go to school every morning. They fake "wellness" when they are sick, so they don't have to miss school! I cannot imagine a more idea environment for children and families
- Posted by
The Greenfield Center School was in instrumental component in my development as a young child and adolescent. The teachers that work at GCS are caring, thoughtful, creative and dedicated to their children and the mission of the school. I laugh to myself as I now teach in a school which uses the Responsive Classroom model (homegrown by GCS and it's staff in the '80s). I am very lucky to have grown up surrounded by such wonderful role models and l try to share some of the magic from GCS in my work with children as a teacher of K-1 students in Brookline, MA.
- Posted by

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in Massachusetts is $13,160 for elementary schools and $31,902 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Massachusetts is 71% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).