Mrs. Skutch, here aided by Mr. Hamlin of Goddard College, seven years ago founded the Early Learning Center in Stamford, Connecticut, and the school's creative divergencies and departures from classic Montessori method has attracted a good deal of attention. With no background in educational methodology (she was a retail store manager) Mrs. Skutch became involved in Montessori training while searching for a school for her son which would teach him ""about his being-in-the-world; who he was, what he-could do, what he needed to know, and how he could find out."" She subsequently trained as a Montessori teacher but, while accepting the genius of the founder, rejected the method's rigidity. (She flunked ""Wipe Up the Spot"" in plant watering.) After founding her own school, Mrs. Skutch loosened the teaching structure, experimented with architectural and space concepts, and introduced new materials. Obviously a gifted teacher sensitive to the weight of words -- and the importance of strategic silences -- the author constantly reviews and reevaluates the progression toward ""quiet confidence"" which is the school's goal. ""I like to see children doing what interests them because they are learning, not because they are little symbols of freedom."" With photographs, a deeply personal and yet informative record of a school's development.