Breakwater truly is a place where “everybody knows your name.” Our small, intimate setting enables us to be a tight-knit community that fosters a culture of belonging, accountability, and support. Older children look out for younger peers on the playground, the Director of Enrollment takes a turn supervising recess, and the Executive Director often acts as crossing guard, welcoming kids safely to school. Our teachers’ in-depth understanding of each child’s developmental needs and family background enables them to partner with parents to offer a personalized learning experience for each student within the flexible yet structured curriculum.

Our school-home partnership is integral to the Breakwater community. Our parents—and often grandparents and extended family members—are highly invested in their child’s education and actively involved in school activities, from volunteering in the classroom and chaperoning field trips to assisting with events and serving on the Board of Trustees. All parents are members of the Breakwater Parent Connection, and many participate in ways that best suit their schedules, interests, and areas of expertise. 

Our multi-age classrooms and emphasis on cooperative learning also contribute to our strong sense of community. Two additional programs, both unique and central to the Breakwater experience, dovetail to enhance our school community. Our Social/Emotional curriculum is integrated into daily school life at every grade level and is aimed at developing and honing social and executive function skills, such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, and self-management. Our complementary Outdoor Adventure Program builds community and encourages teamwork, laying the foundation for ongoing group support, personal risk-taking, and individual growth. 

Breakwater’s ties to the greater Portland community are deep and rich with engaging experiential learning opportunities. As students mature through our program, they become increasingly immersed in community field work that solidifies their learning through meaningful, first-hand experience. In the educational community, Breakwater serves as a teaching practicum site for early childhood education students at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) and for art education students at the Maine College of Art (MECA). The School is proud to be a founding partner for the collaborative Nason’s Corner Park Greening Project. 

Above all, we are a community of diverse individuals who are united and inspired by a mutual love of learning, appreciation of nature and the arts, and respect for diversity, individuality, and the sanctity of childhood.