At Nido: Coworking & Childcare

Our vision is a world where parents can be wholly accepted for who they are, where every child receives quality care, and where we build community and create opportunity—together.


We blend coworking and childcare to form a supportive, inclusive space. Our preschool is an intentionally small program serving ages 6 months to 6 years. We maintain optimal teacher:child ratios to ensure a truly personalized program for every child. We offer a half-day program during the school year, and both half-day and full-day options during the summer. Our hope is that every child can be given the attention and freedom to grow and develop in a way that honors the unique qualities they bring to the world.


 Our goal is to ease your family's transition to childcare by creating an extension of the home environment.

 On one side of the building is our coworking space, complete with two parent-child rooms and conference rooms. The space also showcases local artists.


Our core values



We believe in treating children with the same respect that we treat adults. This means modeling the Montessori principles of grace and courtesy and, in turn, teaching children how to respect each other.

We also respect the often undervalued work of our teachers and are firmly committed to compensating their skill and hard work with a living wage. We respect our members’ unique needs and strive to include our members in our decision-making process.


Parent-child bond

We believe that every parent, guardian, or primary caregiver should have the opportunity to pursue his or her work without sacrificing closeness with their child.

We honor the role of healthy attachment between parent and child and understand the benefits of a secure attachment later in life. By providing parents and children access to one another throughout the workday, families can also nurture a healthy attachment by demonstrating to children that, although it’s scary at first, parents always return at the end of the work day.



Maria Montessori learned through observation (which was later validated by empirical research) that children find delight and meaning when allowed to engage in purposeful work. Many of the behaviors that we see as naughty begin to disappear when children find a flow state of work. Flow state is a loss of self-consciousness and a joy in becoming voluntarily immersed in a work that we find challenging and stimulating. Most adults know it well, and we recognize it in children.

A growing body of research indicates that engagement in a flow state increases general happiness, well-being, self-esteem, and performance. (Source)



In Montessori education, the environment is integral to the child’s experience. We believe the same is true for adults. We strive to create a beautiful work environment that balances freedom and order and encourages a flow state. By implementing a co-op model, we ask our families to become actively involved in caring for the shared environment at Nido.



In the same manner that children are taught to help one another in the classroom, we believe that by building one another up, we all benefit. We do this by encouraging members to host community events here at Nido and by offering our members educational opportunities to grow their businesses.

We truly believe that we need a village. Our children make strong connections with one other, and learn important social skills through interacting with other children. Similarly, coworking spaces have been shown to increase productivity and idea generation through a shared working environment. More importantly, our families have found friendships and emotional support here.


Social change

We believe that what we are doing at Nido is bigger than just a business. We believe that the current structure of the workforce does not meet the needs of the modern family. Parents are forced to choose between their work and their loved ones.

Rather than sacrificing our own families’ needs, we believe in creating a new, better option for working parents. Where mamas, papas, and bibis can contribute their vast talent, education, and skills to the workforce, and parents can be as present in parenthood as they choose. And by educating our children in this environment, we can pass these values onto the next generation.


Our brief history

Nido began as a potluck.

We were a group of parents, primarily moms who were trying to make it work and tired of structures and systems that didn’t work. We moved into our space on Broad Street in May of 2015, as demand to join Nido was steadily increasing. In 2019, we became a nonprofit in an effort to make this model as affordable and accessible as possible to our entire community.

We recognize that Nido is more than a place, and even more than a community—it is a movement toward a new way of living and working and being with each other.

Our Team

Jeannene Schnell Jeannene has been teaching at Nido since we opened in 2015. She has 36 years of experience working with toddlers and preschoolers. She received her Montessori primary credential from the Albanesi Education Center in 1997. Since then, she has been dedicated to fostering Montessori environments for the youngest learners.

Jeannene takes care to get to know every child and mold the environment to the group's specific needs. This attention to detail is one of the many reasons Jeannene is able to inspire children to do great work in her classroom. She is particularly community-minded, making her a great fit for Nido. She loves getting to know the whole family of each child in her classroom, and she views the parent-teacher relationship as a team working together in the best interest of the child. She uses parents' insights to guide her own interactions with the children in her classroom.


Tonya Downing Tonya is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and looks forward to meeting each child where they are and giving them opportunities to succeed in meaningful work. She believes that the Montessori Method naturally develops a love of learning and a caring community of strong, independent individuals.

Tonya has a BA in Philosophy from a small liberal arts college in Michigan and will be continuing her education in Montessori this fall. In addition to teaching (and learning), she enjoys any opportunity for creativity, music, a good book, and exploring Durham on walks with her pups Franny and Debbie, and husband Josh.


Kim Alton Kim has extensive experience with young children and is an amazing and beloved caregiver to the youngest members of our Nido family. Our infant room wouldn’t be the same without her. She’s an experienced teacher with a demonstrated history of working in early childhood education and in the Montessori Method. She received a BA in English Language and Literature from Rhodes College.