About Acorn School

A School For Childhood


In 1972, Rebecca (Hayden) Shepard founded a unique school where children develop and learn together in an atmosphere that is encouraging and cheerful – Acorn School. The school’s original location was in Hampton Falls, NH. Acorn then moved to Exeter for a short time before the Winnicut Road, Stratham property was purchased and became its permanent location in 1975.

For 40  years, Acorn families have enjoyed and celebrated the school’s beautiful and natural surroundings that significantly contribute to its curriculum and philosophy.

After some years of transition, Acorn has become a non-profit preschool and kindergarten run by a volunteer Board of Directors. The school is dedicated to the memory of Becky’s grandmother, Jeanie Richardson Kerns, and in honor of childhood, that fleeting but significant period in life that needs to be filled with confidence building and free imagination.


As a school for childhood, we recognize that this time is a short but significant period in life when trust, curiosity and emotion are spontaneous and are expressed with exuberance and confidence.  At Acorn, as much time and emphasis is placed on a child’s social, emotional and physical development as on his/her intellectual development. The curriculum and warm, friendly environment stimulate and challenge all aspects of the child as he/she becomes involved in learning.  The whole child is considered and planned for in our everyday interactions.  When a child is comfortable, self-confident and developmentally ready he/she is able to perform and succeed to his/per potential.


Acorn School encourages children to experiment, participate and have fun with an emphasis on the process rather than the product.  Through creatively employing movement, art, music and theater, children embrace a curriculum emphasizing the sciences, world cultures and creative arts.  We also recognize that play is a vital part of a child’s development and therefore value it as an important part of the day.

School certification – State of New Hampshire #2171.