Philosophy and Introduction
|At Brimmer and May, we are committed to educating the whole child and to developing intellectual, physical, social, and emotional skills. In our classrooms, we work to build communities in which all children feel accepted and respected. In this atmosphere of trust, the focus is on building each child's sense of confidence and responsibility. |
Students learn best when the process is stimulating, relevant, and connected to the world around them. At Brimmer and May, we strive to create relevance by teaching within a coordinated framework that emphasizes connections. Students use computers, library resources, and classroom materials to discover information and to learn what they must master for higher levels of achievement. Themes such as independence, citizenship, and exploration are used to integrate subject areas. All children are encouraged to take risks in the classroom.
A variety of assessment tools is used to evaluate a student's mastery of essential content and skills and to assess the whole child. Teachers administer conventional quizzes and tests in the classroom and prepare students to take standardized tests. In addition, students create personal portfolios featuring writing samples, artwork, and math projects. These portfolios are collected throughout the year so that progress can be monitored. Guided by the philosophy of the Coalition of Essential Schools, teachers also use a tool called "Exhibitions of Mastery." At the end of a unit of study, students often demonstrate what they have learned for an audience of schoolmates, teachers, and family members. Exhibitions celebrate learning and provide an opportunity for individual talents and personal excellence to be displayed.
Connecting as a Community
|The strength of Brimmer and May's community stems from the relationships between the individuals who make up the school. Lower School students develop close bonds with their teachers and with each other. Each week the Lower School gathers in the theatre for a Share Assembly. Share Assembly activities include guest performers, storytelling, and school performances. |
The buddy system, which pairs older students in the Lower School with younger students, fosters friendship and a sense of belonging. Buddies eagerly look forward to sitting together at weekly Share Assemblies and enjoy being together for special events like the apple picking trip in the early fall, the annual buddy walk, and special theatre outings.
Lower School families and their children come together for a variety of community-building events throughout the school year. First semester functions include a Lower School picnic in September, two special assemblies on Visitors' Day in November, Winter Concert, and Lower School Winter Gathering just before school break in December. Second semester highlights include the Frog Pond Skating Night, WinterFest, and All-School Arts Festival. In addition to the regular schedule of events, informal and impromptu gatherings take place after school and at other times. All Lower School parents are invited to visit their child's classroom. To truly appreciate Brimmer and May's strong sense of community, it is important to tour the campus and talk to current students, teachers, and parents. Brimmer and May's family-like atmosphere remains one of its most distinguishing characteristics.
|Community service at Brimmer and May is a schoolwide commitment and an integral part of the school's curriculum on all levels. Lower School students are involved in a variety of projects that help them learn to recognize their roles and responsibilities in the larger community. For example, students have participated in well-known programs, such as Cradles to Crayons and Mitten and Glove Tree; have made Valentines for children in hospitals and adults in nursing homes; have taken part in read-a-thons to raise money for Helping Hands; and have organized a recycling program. |
The Lower School also participates in projects that involve our entire community. For example, students collect donations for UNICEF. The Lower School community service program reinforces the importance of honesty, respect, responsibility, and kindness as the foundation for lifelong commitment to self and others. At an early age, Brimmer and May students come to appreciate and understand the value of being an involved member of society.