Breakwater has been celebrating Earth Week for over 30 years. What began as spark of hope and a desire to teach children how to love and care for our planet, quickly turned into a week long (read: lifelong) journey of exploration, education, sun, mud, and joy. Back in 1987, Sari Lindauer (former science and tinkering teacher) brought the idea to a handful of Breakwater educators after studying the work of Steve Van Matre and his book, Sunship Earth. That group of teachers, which included both Cheryl Hart (current 5/6 teacher) and Alex Johnston (current Spanish teacher), were immediately taken with the idea and Earth Week, as we now know it, was born.
Earth week is one of Breakwater’s most beloved events. Not only do we love watching our students run through forests and on beaches, glide over ponds in canoes and climb to the summits of mountains, we are so passionate about them discovering a world around them that is so rich and full of life and wonder that they can’t help but to continue loving and caring for it as they grow. Breakwater strives to give our students countless opportunities to explore and discover, question and design. We love the hands-on experiences that Earth Week provides, as well as the ah-ha moments that happen every year all over our beautiful coast, from Apple Orchards to the Casco Bay Islands - from mountains to rivers and lakes. Not only will children get their hands (and rain boots!) muddy, they will get to experience how our culture and people interact with the earth and how they have throughout history. Maine’s coast is rich in stories of how people love the land and the sea. Sharing those stories with the children bring us all a bit closer to the earth.
We have an incredible week planned. Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening on Monday: Some students will travel by ferry to Peak’s Island to visit with former Breakwater teacher and author, Peter “Bridge” Bridgford. While there, children will listen to Bridge tell first hand stories of the sea and sing shanties. Other students will travel to Gorham to go apple picking and visit farm animals. They plan to share a farm poem they wrote and learn more about chickens, pigs and goats. Some middle school students will travel to Goosefare Brook in Ocean Park and the Saco Heath to study ecology and how people respond artistically to the emotion of the landscape. Seventh and Eighth graders will go cycling and canoe on Scarborough Marsh and preschoolers will work on constructing paper mâché globes. Throughout the rest of the week, Breakwater students will do service work in Breakwater’s gardens, read stories about the weather with toddlers, bake with apples and use the cider press, map our campus in preparation for mapping Casco Bay, and create using recycled materials. Students will make movies, engage in sun salutations, play predator and prey games in the Fore River Sanctuary, visit the Maine Historical Society to learn about the sources of our food, go hiking at Fuller Farm and play a “hug a tree” activity. They will stalk in the woods, collaboratively create nature sculptures, go on treasure hunts, build fairy houses, learn how to build small fires, play yoga games and clean up plastic on our beaches. It’s a very full week. We’re quite sure that Breakwater children will go home feeling happy, likely covered in mud, seawater or both, and tired!
On Thursday, our entire school - grades toddler through eighth - will meet together at our beloved JessieLand Nature Preserve to engage in stewardship opportunities and multi-age activities, sing around the campfire, explore the forest and stream, and spend the day celebrating the natural world. The JessieLand adventure concludes Earth Week every year and is always full of grateful children and teachers, songs, stories and appreciations. We look forward to this culmination and then to telling you, through stories and photographs, all about an incredibly rich and varied week in nature!
At Breakwater, we feel as though we live in the most beautiful place on earth and we can’t wait to get out there to play in the sun and wind, explore deep in the forests and climb high in the mountains. We hope you’ll follow us on our journey this week. Please check this page often to see all the wonderful ways we’ve been interacting with our world. You can also like us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on all the magic. For now, we’re signing off. We’re off to explore! Happy Earth Week, Breakwater!
Earth Week - Day One -
Visiting Breakwater’s Garden (Toddler), Paper Mache Globes (PS), Orchard Ridge Apple Orchard (K), Peak’s Island (1/2), Laudholm Farm (3/4), Saco Heath & Ocean Park (5/6), Scarborough Marsh (7/8).
Monday, October 15, 2018
Earth Week - Day Two -
Weather Stories (Toddler), Sun Salutations and Recycled Materials (PS), Apple Cider and Apple Crisp making (K), Mapping our Campus (1/2), Orchard Ridge Apple Orchard (3/4), Wolfe’s Neck State Park (5/6), Predator/Prey Game in the Fore River Sanctuary (7/8)
Tuesday October 16, 2018
Earth Week - Day Three-
Hug A Tree! (Toddler), Gardening with Buddies and making apple crisp (PS and 3/4), Investigations and Provocations with Fitz (K), Wonder Projects Museum (1/2), Maine Historical Society exhibit: Maine Eats (5/6), Scavenger Hunt and Hike at Fuller Farm (7/8).
Wednesday October 17, 2018
Earth Week - Day Four- Jessieland!
What a beautiful (albeit cold!) day at the Jessieland. The entire school (T-8) spent our last day of Earth Week at the Jessieland together - at the campfire, building fairy houses, and exploring the stream and forest. The Jessieland is a 21 acre conservation land that was donated by the Crewe family in honor of their amazing young daughter, Jessie who had a great love of the natural world. We left yesterday afternoon breathing a collective sigh for a beautiful week, honoring the best of outdoor education, for the ability to spend such quality time with friends and family and feeling so lucky that we call this place home. Happy Earth Week, Breakwater. What a lovely week it was.
Thursday October 18, 2018