Blog : Less like an Acorn, More like a Giving Tree

By Mike Bellamente | Dec 15, 2015 | in

Local Preschool puts Nature and Giving at the Center of its Mission

Who or what a child becomes as an adult can often be tied directly to their upbringing. Their roots, so to speak. At the Acorn School in Stratham, New Hampshire, this is precisely why it is so important to instill values such as environmental consciousness and community giving into the little minds attending school every day. “We really focus on acts of kindness and generosity in our little universe,” says Crystal Hardy, Acorn School Board Member, “It’s important for us to reinforce the same value structure that they’re being taught at home.” Perhaps this is why, when the holiday season arrives each year, the Acorn School sets its sights on spreading their own brand of joy through a series of events focused on giving back to the community. 

Calling Mr. Bingle.  “Who” you ask? For those not as well-versed on the operational intricacies of the North Pole, Mr. Bingle is the caretaker and chief stall-mucker for all of Santa’s reindeer. While he doesn’t necessarily maintain the same high profile of his bearded, jolly ol’ boss, Mr. Bingle is an annual staple among the students at the Acorn School. Each year, Acorn, in partnership with the Exeter Adult Education program, work with Mr. Bingle and these young philanthropists on a community gift-giving effort that provides over 200 gifts, in the form of blankets, hats and gloves, to people in need throughout the community. The children, in turn, are each bestowed a bell from Mr. Bingle as a Thank You for their kindness.

Beyond the Mr. Bingle giving program, Acorn also organizes an annual clothing drive each November, whereby, for a paltry $10.00, families are offered the chance to fill a bag of donated clothing and accessories. Re-use and recycling at its best, any donated items that go unclaimed are, in turn, given to low-income families who participate in the USDA Woman, Infant and Children (or WIC) program here in New Hampshire.
But Acorn’s commitment to the community doesn’t end there, as the school is also committed to instilling a sense of environmental stewardship to students and their families. Thanks, in part, to a sponsored partnership with Mr. Fox composting in Portsmouth, every family who has a child enrolled in the Acorn School is provided with all the necessary accoutrements for implementing a composting program within their home.

A quick review of Acorn’s events calendar and one is quick to realize that the school’s commitment to environment and community extends well beyond the holiday season. Launched in 1972, Acorn has remained steadfast in its efforts to maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio, one-on-one interaction, communication, and personal growth. The school uses its beautiful surroundings in Stratham to help forge a curriculum and philosophy aimed at stirring within its students an appreciation for the natural world.
What better way to plant the seed of compassion in our future leaders, then to start them off as the young acorns that will someday blossom in the mighty Oaks of our community.

Learn more about the Acorn School at