After more than 70 years, the Lindgren School is still family-owned and operated, and still inspired by the original and unique vision of an exceptional school for young children. Today, we are teaching the third generation of local families.


In 1944, during WWII, Jean and Theodore Lindgren realized that children needed a safe, joyful place to be while both parents helped with the war efforts — and that peaceful, comforting surroundings were vital for them to become playful learners and empathetic, socially responsible, useful people. The same is true today: young children need a safe haven to buffer the stresses of modern life.

The Lindgrens were inspired by the new movement of the British Infant Schools, Froebel's German Kindergartens, the Kindergarten movement in the U.S., Columbia University's experimental "Four-year-old group," and later the U.S. federally funded "Nursery Schools." These programs were designed to help preliterate children become school-ready. Through play, story reading, singing, and manipulative activities, children would gain socialization, self-discipline and an education of basic skills. During the Great Depression and WWII, Nursery Schools became necessary for mothers that had to work.

Following the movement, Jean began teaching a few students in the small guest- house of the 350-acre Bentkamp Estate in Closter. Surrounded by open fields and

wooded hillsides, the children had room for endless outdoor discovery, along with the chance to meet farm animals and practice gardening — not only a wartime rationing necessity, but a rich source of learning.

Jean and Theodore purchased a sand quarry, part of the Harold Gill farm, to create the Lindgren School. There was not a single tree or blade of grass. They planted trees, created gardens and lawns and hand-built the school with the help of friends and neighbors. Theodore was the carpenter and Jean was the mason. Their collaborative designs and efforts created the beautiful campus we enjoy today. Now, after 70 years of updates and additions, located next to the 135-acre Closter Nature Center, Lindgren is an oasis: large sunny classrooms, a natural sand playground, natural wood climbers, 


flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, barns and sheds for the animals — a rich environment for learning.