When I first walked into the Toddler Room, I felt like I was in a spa - beautiful wood furniture, plants throughout the room, gurgling water from a fish tank. I am not a die-hard "natural" person, but I prefer this environment to plastic toys, Sponge Bob, and M&M rewards for potty training. The toddlers get to hang a photo of their family somewhere in the room so they can say "be" with their family.
Montessori philosophy recognizes that doing "work" is important. (I know that I feel most peaceful and accomplished after I have done my own "adult work.") You may see a toddler bathing a doll (with real water; real bubbles), or spraying a window with a squirt bottle and then wiping it down. They sing songs, have a beautiful outdoor play space, and get to try a new food each week as a "food tasting" (pomegranate, anyone?).
The 3-6 classes are also nurturing and beautiful. My kids have a strong foundation in math and reading because of the hands-on Montessori materials. For example, there is a letter "S" on a card. It is cut out of sandpaper. A three year old might trace e.g. the letter "S" with his finger and simultaneously says the "s" sound, allowing them to absorb the information via more than one sense. Then the child might make a physical number chain going into the hall (a special treat), writing each number up to 100.
One of my children has since transitioned into York public schools and is well ahead of her peers (she also gets to watch TV at school every Friday, which she just loves, but it makes me miss BMFS).
Sometimes I am disappointed that I do not have more children so the school could be a part of our lives for longer. Alica is amazing as a school director, and the teachers are so extremely dedicated. I'm recalling, for example, how many days a week my 4-year old son comes home with a letter-book with his name penciled in on it, where the teachers have hand-drawn illustrations (e.g. a drawing of a cat for the letter “C”) – no photocopying involved. I have a stack of personalized teacher-made books containing words personalized for my son that are tailored to his reading level. I am amazed that Ann, Heidi and Nell do this for all children on a daily/weekly basis.
I could go on and on, but I am out of characters allowed. I did not even get to the wonderful, safe, huge, fun outdoor space. In short, I highly recommend Brixham!
We have one child that has gone from Pre-K through 5th Grade and has seemlessly transitioned into a normal school environment. The other has gone from the Toddler classroom and is entering the 5th Grade this Fall. Through each stage at Brixham we felt that the opportunity was too great at this early stage of development to take them out of Brixham.
Overall Brixham has taught our children to be self-disciplined, self-directed and have a genuine love of learning.
Thank you to all the staff and teachers at Brixham for having such a positive effect on our children - it has set them up for a life of learning.
Gratitude to this community for inclusion, kindness and support. Gratitude to the Director, Board and staff, who work so hard to create and live the school's mission. Gratitude to other parents for their generosity in supporting such a special place.
The amount of homework is appropriate and reinforces the activity of the classroom. I think my child is going to be overwhelmed when he returns to public school, however, since BMFS requires much less homework!