Connection: It's at the heart of everything we do.

Please join together with us to build connections and celebrate our remarkable community at our annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, November 4, from 12pm - 2pm
(following our Admissions Open House)!

Breakwater School is coming upon 61 years of service and commitment to children and their families in the Greater Portland area. That's 61 years of the Breakwater model in action -constantly revisited, rehashed and refined.  Even as our school continues to grow, there is one constant that has kept its promise since the very beginning.  This promise is the buzz we hear in our halls, in our communities and in our mission: Connection.  When we celebrated our 50th Founders Day eleven years ago, we called upon our beloved founder, El Costa.  At the time, she was still captivating children with her storytelling - honoring them with her listening ear and warm smile. Trying to capture her philosophy of the spirit of Breakwater, David Sullivan conducted an interview with El and asked her what the essence of Breakwater is.  Without hesitation (she barely let him finish the question!) she answered,

"One word: Love."

I get a little teary when I watch this clip.  It's because we have seen this in action for years.  It's easy to dismiss this as being purely sentimental. It's easy to think, "Yes, that's sweet, but...." We believe it's more than that. El Costa understood that children, for their happiness, safety, and development, need to deeply connect to the people in their lives.  Love and connection is at the forefront of how we are in our Preschool classrooms and that continues straight up into 8th grade - and beyond. Breakwater connections rarely end just because our students graduate.  We believe this is due to the deep connections they create while they're here. 

You can see the clip of El Costa here

 

So what does it mean to connect to our students?  Perhaps, you have heard of the educational philosophy, "The First Six Weeks of School."  What began as a book about Responsive Classroom became a way of being and teaching. When you honor the idea of the first six weeks, students are taught that the social curriculum is as important as the academic one.  They learn that the environment they are in will greet them with warmth, compassion and understanding.  We believe that until a child feels safe and connected, he or she cannot thrive as a learner.  

We believe knowing the parents of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children themselves. We know that the greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions. 

We also take great consideration towards connecting our students to the greater Breakwater community.  Through field trips like last week's all school adventure to the JessieLand and  weekly meetings with our third and fourth grade learning buddies, children in preschool see themselves as a part of something much greater than themselves.  When children grow and learn in a community that is celebrating their work and honoring them as learners and people they develop the ability to see themselves as a part of something much greater than themselves. They learn that a community is something you can lean on and learn from. It is, without a doubt, that these early experiences will help guide how they will expect their communities to be as they grow beyond the Breakwater.

Guest post by Stephanie Davis,
preschool teacher and Breakwater parent.