I’m just starting my school search and I’m learning about different educational philosophies. What’s yours?
Our educational philosophy falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between progressivism and traditionalism with an emphasis on interdisciplinary project-based learning. We offer the ideal combination of academic rigor and individual nurture, and fuel the love of learning by pushing students to their limits while pulling them into new experiences. Our curriculum focuses on depth rather than breadth: students dive deeply into a topic and explore it from every angle, rather than superficially skimming the surface of a broad range of topics. In their quest for knowledge and understanding, Belmont Day students are encouraged to be creative, collaborative, and good problem solvers.
Why choose a school that ends in grade 8?
Belmont Day strongly believes that the primary, elementary, and middle school experience must address not just the academic development of a child but also the social and emotional development of an individual. We support the childhood to adolescent transition by leveraging the benefits of a pre-k to grade 8 school model. During the critical middle school years, we provide students with the room to experiment with adult experiences by providing authentic leadership opportunities, and greater community responsibility. Our middle school students are each paired with a lower school student for the school year, making tangible the notion that they are role models for behavior. We prepare students for the challenging decisions and choices they will be making in high school in a safe environment that values their contributions and limits the distractions that can come with older counterparts. Giving them this voice greatly enhances the high school search process, as students are more likely to be invested in their own high school success when they are a partner in the next school decision.
Is your school socially and economically diverse?
Belmont Day strives to build and welcome a diverse community through its outreach and financial aid programs. Our students represent 25 different towns, speak different languages at home, and go home to two-parent, single-parent, same-sex, abled and disabled, interracial, international, intergenerational, racially, and ethnically diverse families. Each year about 22% of families receive a need-based financial aid award, ranging from 20% to 99% of overall tuition. We value diversity and are committed to curriculum, parent and faculty education, and an ongoing dialogue that furthers our efforts to leverage the lessons of a diverse community of learners.
I have access to a strong public school. Why should I consider Belmont Day?
While there are many differences between our program and local public school programs, we would highlight that we stand apart because of the four Cs: choice, challenge, creativity, and cultivation. Our students are given choice daily to ensure that they are active participants in their own education. They choose independent research topics, choose the format of their projects, choose their sports each season, and more. Our graduates leave Belmont Day with a strong sense of self-identity and a collection of passions that helps them to choose the most impactful future experiences. Free from the limitations of state testing, such as MCAS, our curriculum pulls from the best practices in each discipline and is built to challenge learners at every level. We don’t teach to a test, instead we teach kids to think critically, analyze, and determine for themselves what is important. Creativity is also a core part of our program, as evidenced by our robust arts offerings and courses like Technology & Engineering and Design Thinking. We believe that academic excellence means students have the confidence and the competence to solve new, complex challenges, so we give them the tools to think, plan, and execute creatively. Cultivation of each student’s greatest potential is another key differentiator. Our dedicated and talented faculty, staff, and administrators are committed to truly knowing your child and supporting his or her growth throughout their time at Belmont Day. These close relationships our kids share with their teachers and coaches drive them to do more, and inspire them to set their sights even higher.
You’re a smaller school. What impact does that have on your athletic and arts program?
Our relatively small size greatly enhances the quality of our athletics and arts programs. It allows us to offer our middle school students (grades 6 to 8) an hour-long athletics block four days a week, in addition to interscholastic competition. Seasoned athletes are sure to be challenged by our varsity teams, while our small size means that emerging athletes are supported and developed through intramural and junior varsity play. We also celebrate that our size means that our students are as immersed in arts as they are in athletics. Our lead soccer scorer may also be the lead in the school play; seventh and eighth grade students choose from a vast menu of visual arts, theater arts, and technology electives each trimester.
Do you accept late applications?
Our application deadline for priority round consideration is January 10. For those that come later to the process, our second round deadline of March 1 helps to alleviate some of the pressure. Following March 1, we cannot guarantee that we will have openings for the grade level you need, but we encourage you to call our office to inquire about availability. If and when we anticipate an appropriate opening, we are happy to consider a family’s late application.
When is my child eligible to enter your pre-kindergarten program? What are your guidelines for kindergarten entry?
We require applicants to pre-kindergarten to turn four prior to September 1 of the year they wish to start at Belmont Day and for kindergarten applicants to turn five. In addition to screening for this chronological age requirement, we also focus on carefully assessing a child’s developmental readiness for our unique program. The parent visit is a great opportunity to ask questions about child readiness and placement in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten admission process.
I applied and my child was wait-listed or denied admission. Can I reapply next year?
We do accept reapplications and we will provide limited feedback to families prior to their submission of a new application. Admissions decisions are always complex because we not only seek to assess a candidate and family’s fit with our school philosophy and program but we also seek to balance out and complement our existing classes of students. Just because a student receives a waitlist or deny letter one year does not necessarily mean they will encounter the same result the following year.
What kind of child succeeds at Belmont Day School?
A child with strong cognitive skills, a love of learning, a deep curiosity, and thoughtfulness towards others will flourish at Belmont Day. The school is interested in forming a partnership with parents to nurture the intellectual, artistic, social, emotional, and athletic qualities in all students.