MANCHESTER - A brand new elementary school is coming to Manchester. The Downtown School is an independent progressive education elementary school opening in the fall of 2014. The school will hold a Holiday Open House for prospective families on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school site at 106 Palmer Place in Manchester Center.

"The Downtown School is a classic progressive school, similar in educational style to The Bank Street School for Children and The City & Country School in New York City" says Alexa Manning, a member of The Downtown School founding team. "It is a different type of school from what is currently available in our area, and will add another choice for families as they explore the strong schools in our community," says Manning. "Our focus is on teaching children how to learn, rather than what to learn. It's a skills-based, interdisciplinary educational approach with an emphasis on deep and flexible learning of core skills, and the ability to solve complex, real-world problems," she said.

Manning goes on to explain that The Downtown School has a whole-child approach that "balances rigorous academic goals with social, emotional, and physical goals"

"The Downtown School's location is key to its mission," says Natalie Pergament, a career educator and member of The Downtown School founding team. Pergament says, "The school has an incredible, historic, four-acre campus in the heart of downtown Manchester, just across the street from the brand new Manchester library. Involvement in and with the community is one of the school's core beliefs, and students at The Downtown School will use downtown Manchester and the surrounding area as a giant classroom."

Jason Pergament, Director of Student Success at Burr & Burton Academy, who is working with The Downtown School founding group in an advisory capacity says, "When students arrive in high school, the most important things they can bring from their elementary school education are a deep and meaningful love of learning, and a flexible set of skills to tackle tough problems."

Pergament goes on to say that "the Mountain Campus at BBA has shown a niche for this type of skills-based learning in our community. With the addition of The Downtown School to our regional school choices, that type of learning can start in Kindergarten."

"The Downtown School focuses on the joy of learning in everything we do, " says Manning. "Look at the joy you see in the eyes of very young children when they learn something new - our goal is to keep that joy happening every day through eighth grade and beyond."

Families interested in learning more about The Downtown School can visit the school's website at www.thedowntownschool.org and attend the Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school site, 106 Palmer Place in Manchester Center, just behind Ye Olde Tavern.