Allison James

My name is Allison James and I was raised in York and Belfast, ME.  I attended the University of Maine and graduated with a B.S. in elementary education, with minors in English as a second language and disability studies. I hold a Maine Teachers Certificate and an English as an ESL endorsement. I previously taught second grade at the Dedham School in Dedham, ME.  My experience also includes teaching in a variety of educational settings, including roles as preschool teacher, substitute teacher, mentor, and youth field hockey coach.  I have taught English as a foreign language in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and at the American International School in Salzburg, Austria.  I feel fortunate to return to York, ME where I can spend more time outdoors with my family on the beautiful coast.  I look forward to collaborating with Danielle to expand on the supportive, fun, and dynamic pre-kindergarten program at Berwick!

Why do you love teaching Pre-Kindergarten?

I love the spirit of three and four year olds. Children of these ages are full of curiosity. The joy of exploration, life and learning that three and four year olds exhibit excite me as an educator. It is an honor to support and guide children through this important time of social and emotional development and build a strong academic foundation.

What defines a great teacher?

A great teacher uses observation to meet each individual child where they are socially, emotionally, and academically. They then use their knowledge to support the specific needs of the individual, as well as the collective needs of the group to create a positive and dynamic classroom community. A great teacher is constantly using reflective practice to better themselves for their students. A great teacher is patient, kind, hardworking and loving. Laughter, respect, and love can’t help but radiate through the walls of their classrooms!

What is your favorite lesson to teach?

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific lesson. My favorite time of the day is greeting each child when they walk through the door. This is a time where I can convey my excitement for the day and gage how each child is feeling. Every day is a fresh start!

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe learning is fueled by curiosity, motivation, and inspiration. I encourage creative thinking and provide developmentally appropriate hands-on learning opportunities while fostering a respect for cultural diversity and multiple learning styles. I celebrate each child I work with and honor each accomplishment during our journey together.
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.