Blog : A Day in the Life of Brixham Montessori Friends School

By Magill | Aug 17, 2014 | in

Magill Smith is a writer at the Green Alliance. She also works at Brixham Montessori Friends School. She loves working with the children at Brixham, and wanted to share a journal of her experiences during the summer program so you can hear what happens on the playground too!

It has been a busy beginning to a fun filled summer at Brixham Montessori Friends School! As August flies by, we are already four weeks into our summer program. There is a daily theme to the summer play, allowing for a curriculum to be lightly incorporated into the camp to keep the children’s minds active through the summer months. With each theme comes an activity allowing the children to have a hands on experience related to what we learned. So far, we have enjoyed learning about helping by reading the Little Red Hen and making delicious bread, celebrating nature by doing tree rubbings, and learning about crops that grow in Maine. 

With a peaceful Montessori approach, Brixham teaches its children to appreciate the nature around them. Our mornings begin with outdoor play, allowing the children to enjoy the play structure, woods, sprinkler and even some gardening. Each morning when the campers arrive, they eagerly check for eggs in the chicken coop out on the playground and scour the woods for toads and other small creatures, followed by filling up containers with water from the rain barrels to make moats in the sandbox. It’s fascinating to see how involved they become with the world around them when given access to the woods for free play. They have shown appreciation for the trees and a thirst for knowledge through leaf identification, in addition to setting up slack lines between the trees to practice balancing skills. The program is so much fun that even Brixham executive director, Alica Johnson-Grafe, couldn’t stay away – she’s taken time from running the office to work with the children this summer. During the mornings, she also gives children the option to step just outside of the playground to help her garden.  

The first week the children began the program, five-year-old Liza came running down to the picnic tables to show everyone the biggest radishes she had ever seen. She was right - you never would have guessed that they were organically grown! 

Fortunately, the first few weeks have been very sunny, allowing the garden to thrive and for everyone to stay outside. To beat the heat, most of the children have been enjoying mornings in their swimsuits so they can run in and out of the sprinkler. Following a healthy outdoor snack of fruits and vegetables (but mostly watermelon, the camp favorite), the children head inside to play in two of the preschool classrooms.

Before indoor play begins, there is circle time to read stories and tell the children what the new activities are each day. Johnson-Grafe has set up one classroom to model a small version of downtown York, Maine. The campers have loved working at the fire station, restaurant, and vet’s office and then going to the bank to deposit some money. There are small areas of the classroom dedicated to each shop or business, but sometimes it’s important to create your own games, and often the “firemen” will visit the vet’s office, the flower shop, across the hall in the craft room, and in the restaurant... to make sure nothing is burning down. In the neighboring classroom, teachers Whitney Genatossio and Jessa Sullivan have been helping the children make lemonade, Play Doh, and delicious fruit popsicles.  

This week ended with a field trip to Blueberry Bay Farm in Stratham, where the children spent the morning blueberry picking. It was a beautiful summer morning and the bushes were filled with berries at the peak of the season. The farm grows their berries organically, making it all the more tempting for the children to eat a few while picking. In search for the largest berries, Rowan found himself in the very last row and excitedly announced to everyone that he had found the “ultra chubbies.” Four year old Evelia shared, “I’m picking these berries to freeze for winter time, in case the food runs out.” Unfortunately, the plan fell through as those berries turned to jam on the car ride back to school. Luckily, enough blueberries made it back for the afternoon group to make smoothies at circle time.  

As the first session of Summer Camp comes to a close, Brixham is saying goodbye to a few children and teachers until the fall. Many of the children are staying for the remaining two weeks and have lots more summertime activities to look forward to including more baking and crafts.  

Members of the Green Alliance receive 15% off the Brixham Montessori Friends School Application fee.