When parents, faculty, and alumni are asked what they most value about Belmont Day School, the invariable response, often swift and emphatic, is "the strong sense of community." When they define what they mean by this phrase, they include the following examples:
- the deep appreciation of children at all stages of development
- the shared goal of excellence in all educational matters
- the commitment to celebrate, support, and increase diversity in our community
- the centrality of our six shared values
- the nurturing relationships
- the focus on teamwork over competition
This strong sense of community exists in the midst of thoughtful planning by faculty and staff, parents and board members, who strive for a predictable and supportive environment for students and adults. Evidence of this planning is found in a host of traditions that embody our commitment to community and our core values. Some reflect how we do things. Others are simply what we do.
How we do things
High fives and hugs in the hallway. Sitting together at Sharing Assemblies. Sharing a good book on Friday morning. Cross-graded partnerships expand each student's sense of community as lasting bonds are created through shared activities with partners from another grade. Each grade is paired with another: Pre-kindergarten with eighth grade, kindergarten with sixth grade, first with fourth grade, second with fifth grade, and third with seventh grade.
At any given time, the hallways and walls of Belmont Day reflect our steady commitment to community service. Reflected in our core value of “caring,” it plays a prominent role in our school life. Students and faculty conceive of and carry out countless creative, thoughtful charitable projects throughout the year.
Held on a Friday in late May, Community Service Day is the culmination of our yearlong, school-wide commitment to community service. Each grade level takes on one or more projects that are developmentally appropriate; connected with a current event, the curriculum, a family, or an outside organization; and allow for collaboration and teamwork.
Family-style lunch together. Playing tag at recess with friends from other grades. Competing together in interscholastic games. Sharing studio time during an arts electives. Students in contiguous grades have many opportunities to spend time together. Suddenly the everyday community of each grade level expands to include the grades on either side.
Greening and the Garden
Responsibility. It's one of our core values and applies not just to how we conduct ourselves in our day to day interactions but to our relationships to the world around us as well. We strive to instill the ideals set out in our environmental mission statement in each member of the community. Central to our efforts is the Belmont Day Garden. Here students can get their hands dirty and understand firsthand the connection between themselves and the greater world that sustains them.
What we do
The quintessential community experience at Belmont Day is Sharing Assembly. All of the classes, pre-k through grade eight, gather in the performing arts center, along with the faculty and many parents and siblings. Each class shares something they have been working on. Sharing Assembly encourages us to look at the world through one another's eyes. It reminds us of the strength of community and the excitement of learning. Everyone is a learner here!
Costumes and cross-graded —what could be better? The annual Halloween Parade is the very epitome of joy, one of our core values, as student and faculty proceed around Claflin Field in full costume. Parents gather to witness the excitement and celebrate the creative costuming efforts.
Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day
Our students work hard and they are proud of that work and the community they have created. Naturally, they want to share their efforts with the people in their lives, be they grandparents, aunts, uncles, or special friends. Students invite chosen guests to attend a Friday morning of classroom time and a special Sharing Assembly.
Red, blue, yellow, purple, grey—colors rule the day as students are divided into teams to compete in six athletic events. Field Day is held in two sessions at the end of May. One session hosts the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in age-appropriate activities run by eighth grade students. The second session is designed for students in grades one through seven with seventh grade students as team captains. A friendly spirit and excitement pervade the event as students cheer on their team mates from across multiple grades.
In grades three through six, parents and students read a compelling book and come together to discuss it in a way that mimics adult book groups. Lemonade, iced tea, and cookies are served during the hour long discussion in small groups in Coolidge Hall.
The end of the school year is a time of transition as students move from one grade to the next. Our graduation ceremony celebrates this fact for our eighth graders. Moving Up day does so for every student in the school. Held the day before graduation, the ceremony acknowledges the work of every student as they bid farewell to the year just finished and step into the year to come.