Mission & Core Values


This mission of Putnam Indian Field School is to provide an early childhood educational experience that will ignite a love of learning and inspire children to:

  • Be creative and critical thinkers
  • Have a positive self-image
  • Bravely take risks
  • Embrace diversity
  • Feel responsible for themselves and their world
  • Be good friends


The 5 C’s of PIFS


We view each child as a powerful learner. Our program is designed to help children discover just how capable, intelligent, observant and powerful they are.

  • Teachers are respectful partners
  • Curriculum follows each child’s unique interests, encouraging them to share observations and experiences and empowering them to feel good about their ideas
  • Facilities such as our multiple playgrounds and indoor gym offer a multitude of safe opportunities for children to build self-esteem and independence by taking physical risks.


Children are naturally curious.  We encourage them to explore, seek new information and ask questions.

  • Special classes (sensory art, science and nature, music) and enrichment programs give children the freedom to play to learn, growing intellectually through experimentation
  • Children are challenged to question information, test new ideas, and simply play with materials in new and unusual ways


Our focus is on the process instead of the product, promoting learning, exploring and creative thinking over achieving a specific result or answer.

  • Hands-on, guided play-based experiences teach our children to represent their ideas and emotions in words, visual arts, drama, movement and music
  • Children love to express themselves through art and our annual Spring Art Show is a school-wide celebration of our multi-faceted approach to creative learning as art merges with science, nature, history, literature, and more


We strive to make our school an extension of home for our children, their families and our teachers. Many of our alumni families have made forever friends at PIFS.

  • Multiple events for families through out the year (parent open houses and coffees, art show, spring garden planting event, picnic)
  • Open-door policy for parents to meet with the Head of School, read a book in class, share a special family tradition, etc.
  • Regular newsletters with classroom photos, topical curricular updates and reading list suggestions


We maintain a culture of respect and responsibility for all facets of our environment and the community beyond our school. By instilling this respect in our children, we teach them that they are part of something bigger, planting the seeds for them to become citizens of the world.

  • A special connection to nature is part of our school’s heritage and our science room, gardens and Smokey’s Bounders program provide opportunities for children to learn and care about plants, animals, water and food sources
  • Learning is re-enforced in the classroom with conservation and recycling programs
  • Snack and lunch menus with food from our own gardens, and organic and non-processed food when possible, teach children about sustainable eating and healthy habits
  • Teachers model positive relationships by supporting children with empathy, kindness and concern for all
  • Charitable outreach fosters an understanding of self and others


School Philosophy

We believe in developmentally appropriate education of the whole child across the cognitive, social, physical and creative domains of development. The School’s approach to early childhood education draws upon the foundational theories of leading thinkers including Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner and Benjamin Bloom and is informed by current academic research.  We are inspired by the vision of Loris Malaguzzi and the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Our play-based curriculum develops pre-academic skills, and aligns with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Connecticut Early Learning and Development standards.

At the heart of our philosophy is our view of each child as competent, powerful and eager to learn and of the teachers as a respectful co-learner with the child. We believe that children learn best when they are actively involved in play, engaged in activities of interest to them and that lead them to make choices, explore, experiment, investigate, discover and create. The teachers follow the child’s interests and introduce learning skills in the context of those interests so that each child’s early school experience becomes a happy, exhilarating adventure. At PIFS, the child learns to function effectively and comfortably both independently and in group situations; and grows in confidence, independence and responsibility. Sound social and emotional development is our primary goal; and encouraging this development is the guiding force in all we do.

The PIFS curriculum reflects current knowledge and facilitates teachers’ work to promote growth and development in the social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative domains through a framework of broad developmental goals, based on the CT Preschool Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks.