• Berwick
Lower School Academics
Berwick Academy’s Pre-Kindergarten program for three and four year-olds focuses on the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth of each child. In a structured yet creative program, students take part in activities that expand their social and cognitive accomplishments. 

  • Half-day and full-day options - full day students have the option to attend aftercare in the Lower School until 5:15 p.m.
  • Two full-time teachers
  • Explorations (Art, Music, Science, Physical Education, Language, Library) classes
  • A playground with many varied stations for skill development

Essential Questions:
How does an early education environment foster growth, independence and a love of learning?
What foundational skills (social/emotional/physical and cognitive) do we need to become productive learners in pre-kindergarten, during the Lower School years, throughout Berwick Academy and beyond?
Skills and Enduring Understandings:
The Pre-Kindergarten students are Berwick’s youngest learners. Throughout the school year, teachers and students work collaboratively to expand upon and refine self-care, communication and problem-solving skills, social/emotional/physical interactions and cognitive development within a supportive and creative environment.

Children’s interests, ideas, encounters, and discoveries propel the Pre-Kindergarten curriculum as they explore a particular area of inquiry. Each year, investigations and projects differ because each child and family brings new ideas and experiences to the classroom community. The interests of the children drive the curriculum in unique directions, while classroom teachers interweave age-appropriate lessons into daily learning encounters.

Pre-Kindergarten students are exposed to the rich and dynamic elements of the Exploration classes for approximately thirty minutes each day of the school week. Music, Art, Library, Science and World Language teachers develop meaningful and appropriate lessons to bring to the Pre-Kindergarten classroom. Twice weekly, the children venture to the athletic center where they have a Physical Education/Movement class to allow for fine-motor, gross-motor and spatial awareness development.

Sample Schedule

List of 11 items.

  • 8:05 – 8:20 Arrival/Outside Time

    As children filter into the classroom and transition away from their grown-ups, one of the Pre-Kindergarten teachers greets the children and assists them in hanging up their belongings and putting away their lunchboxes. As students complete this task, they join their classmates out on the playground (weather permitting) where the other Pre-Kindergarten teacher is supervising the outdoor exploration. As the year progresses, it is expected that the children will be able to complete the morning arrival routine independently.
  • 8:30-9:00 Morning Meeting

    Students and teachers gather in a circle to begin the day. This meeting typically consists of a greeting, a story, song and movement and will usually involve a short lesson, student sharing or Calendar Math. The morning meeting evolves throughout the year based on the increased attention spans and more complex lessons and student driven inquiries. Morning Meeting is one of the most important parts of the Pre-Kindergarten experience.
  • 9:05-9:20 Snack

    Students sit at tables of four that change monthly. They are encouraged to practice proper eating skills: sitting in their chairs, chewing carefully, throwing out their trash when they are finished and making sure their space is clean before beginning classroom work.
  • 9:30-11:15 Classroom Explorations

    The children are given a large block of time to work in a variety of spaces within the classroom without interruption. They may flow freely in the room, and with teacher guidance, are encouraged to explore a work in a way that promotes curiosity, focus, social/emotional and problem solving skills.

    Specific subject-area classes are also taught in the following areas: art, library, music, science, and world language.  These classes are taught by the Explorations teachers within the Pre-K classroom (with the exception of physical education, which is taught in the athletic center twice a week.) The Explorations classes are thoughtfully planned and coordinated to maximize student involvement and interest; the children always look forward to visits from their Explorations teachers.
  • 11:20-12:00 Recess

    Weather permitting, students enjoy quality time on the playground. When the weather does not allow, we are fortunate to be able to go to the gym for indoor recess so the children can move their bodies and release their energy after working hard all morning. Outside time, connecting with nature, play and exercise are as important in the Pre-Kindergarten as the indoor academic elements.
  • 12-12:10 Noon Dismissal for Half-Day Students

    Our half-day students depart Berwick at this time. Parents pick-up at the classroom as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher dismisses them.
  • 12:10-12:45 Lunch

    Full-day students eat lunch in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom with their teachers. Lunch is brought from home and the children sit at the same tables as they do for snack.
  • 12:45-1:00 – Short work period/Clean-up/Bathroom/Story

    This time segment varies depending on student readiness and completion of lunch, as students wind-down before rest time.
  • 1:05-2:05 Rest/Quiet Hour

    Full-day students will rest quietly for one hour on a comfortable cot while soft music plays. Not every child will sleep, and that is okay. For those that do not sleep, they are still expected to rest their bodies. After at least forty minutes of resting, students may transition to looking at a book or drawing quietly on their cots until rest time is over.
  • 2:05-2:45 – Classroom work period/Nature exploration/Senior helpers

    This time varies each day, but often involves further exploration of what was worked on earlier in the day, completion of work or projects and time with Upper School helpers. When the weather allows, we will often take a nature walk or explore Berwick’s campus.
  • 2:50-3:05 – Classroom cleanup/Pack-up and Dismissal

    Pre-Kindergarten children are dismissed from the classroom upon arrival of designated grown-up or brought to After Care.

Why Berwick?


Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.  Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.