At Island Children’s School, we see children as a whole being. Therefore we provide opportunities to develop their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive awareness.


Our Beginning

Starting a school for her own children, Joan Lester opened our doors in 1969 with the help of Linda McCarthy. In true Vineyard style, the school was nomadic, moving from place to place around the island. For a few years we called the Chilmark community center home, back when tuition was free and James Taylor put on benefit concerts so toys and supplies could be purchased! The years also saw the Youth Hostel as our home and and a large family farm in West Tisbury. In 1993 the school was given land and we built our permanent home here on Halcyon Way.


“We want the school to be a loving home environment. We want children to become strong in knowing who they are.”

— Elaine Allen, FOrmer director in an interview in 1993


Our curriculum is created and implemented within student-centered imaginative play. Carefully designed environments and richly constructed activities allow students to explore the world, build relationships, and make decisions that will guide them to love learning. We also strive to connect our small community to the larger island community so that we may make a positive impact on the lives of the children and families of Martha’s Vineyard.

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