Today, Greenspring Montessori School (GMS) celebrated the completion of Susquehanna Village, home to the school’s elementary students.
Susquehanna Village is the latest in a series of three projects that have improved the 6.5-acre campus—a former dairy farm located within a National Register Historic District—through the design of thoughtful, state-of-the-art learning environments that emulate the Montessori vision with an allegiance to nature, a sense of belonging, and the cultivation of empowerment.
In 2015, GWWO began our partnership with GMS to re-envision the campus with a series of phased renovations and additions, including two academic villages designed for children up to 6 years old, which opened in 2018. In this third phase, the long-anticipated village for elementary-age students ties it all together through the continued use of forms and materials honoring the historic nature of the campus, while modern exterior details and interior spaces contribute to a new holistic learning experience that evokes curiosity and encourages experimentation.
A 5,560-SF one-story building, Susquehanna Village houses three light-filled classrooms, all equipped with kitchenettes, and shared community spaces including a child-use kitchen and laundry, areas for small group learning, and covered outdoor space. Classrooms were designed to meet the specific needs of the school’s child-centered approach to education, paying special attention to the details, heights, and placement of counters and windows, to allow for views outdoors, whether sitting on the ground, in a chair, or standing.
New construction emphasizes the individual classrooms as building blocks, helping students understand their belonging within the classroom, village, and school communities by providing visual transparency and easy—yet protected—movement connecting each classroom to shared village spaces. The project also included life-safety upgrades to two existing buildings—making the entire campus now fully sprinklered.
“No matter the time of day or which classroom, the natural light is stunning, the interior flow apparent, the scale perfect, and the building’s textures and tones soothing, ” said Tamara Balis, GMS' Head of School.
Upon opening, Susquehanna Village fulfills the vision that began eight years ago to provide a modern, right-sized, safe, healthy, and inspiring setting for GMS students to learn and grow.