Recently, first graders in Geoffrey Fox’s class had lots and lots of questions all about Belmont Day School. To answer them, Mr. Fox turned to Koreen McQuilton, director of communications and marketing. After more than 25 years working here at Belmont Day, Ms. McQuilton knows a lot about the history and traditions of our school and loves to share that knowledge with students of all ages.
Below are the first graders’ many curious questions and Ms. McQuilton’s wonderful answers. Enjoy!
Why is the Barn called the Barn?
We called the new building the Barn as a nod to the school’s history. When BDS was founded, Belmont was still a town of farms. When the school outgrew its first location, a parent came upon a “little stone house in the big field” in what was then a “country” atmosphere, and BDS moved to our present location.
And why is the Barn not connected to the Schoolhouse?
The school worked with building planners and architects to determine the best location for a new building. Also, the school had to get permission from the Town of Belmont for a new building. The Town has many rules that must be followed for building projects. The location chosen preserved Claflin Field, which is important for recess and sports, and the swimming pool, which is important for our summer camp.
Who made Big Blue?
A company installed the equipment that we call Big Blue on our playground in 2011. Big Blue replaced BigToy, which was on our playground from 1994 to 2011.
Here is some information about why we got new playground equipment:
In 2009, seventh graders became dismayed when a piece of BigToy broke, and a section had to be closed off. They decided to organize a bake sale to raise money to fix it. Sadly, replacement pieces were no longer being made for our BigToy structure, so that sparked us all to start thinking about replacing our BigToy. Everyone in the community contributed their thoughts, suggestions, comments, and ideas on how to proceed.
Seventh and eighth graders worked in their advisory groups to interview and observe the younger students in regard to the playground. With this information in hand, each group formally presented their recommendations to students, faculty, and the playground committee.
First graders worked with their fifth grade partners to review different types of structures and their possible appeal to different children. The cross-graded partners then created color images of these structures.
Second graders drew plans of what their ideal play structure would look like.
Fifth graders created two lists: “What we like about the current BigToy” and “Things we hope to see in the new playground.”
Here are a few ideas that didn’t make it:
- Trampoline, water slide, dance floor, mirror maze, trapeze swings, laser tag, mini golf, roller coaster, paintball court, a bouncing ball that goes to the clouds, snow catcher, princess to walk around, and a tightrope that goes over lava!
Sixth graders brainstormed ideas on what improvements could be made to the playground.
A group of parents, faculty, and staff worked together to decide on a vendor. The group made a presentation to the faculty with all of the ideas. Final plans were shown to the faculty and then approved by the Board of Trustees.
This (click here) is a picture of parent helpers installing BigToy!
And in this photo (click here) is Dr. Levine, who was BDS head of school from 1987 to 1998 with students after BigToy was finished being built. The students in the photo are all grown-ups now!
This photo (click here) is Belmont Day’s first play structure! (c. 1930s)
When was BDS founded? What year did BDS start teaching kids? And who founded BDS?
Belmont Day School was founded in 1927 by a group of parents who were inspired to start a school.
The first head of school was Miss Marjorie Poppleton. Belmont Day opened at All Saints’ Parish House with only 18 students! Our school moved to “the stone house in the field” (click here to see a drawing of the school) in 1933.
Why is it named Belmont Day School?
Because the school is in the Town of Belmont; “Day” can be a traditional part of a school’s name when its students do not live at school, as they would at a boarding school.
Why is the BDS logo a “B”?
The B has three parts: the B, a branch, and the sun. These three parts show the strong foundation, growth, and positive outlook of the Belmont Day learning community.
Why are there so many fields at BDS? Why are there so many gyms?
Because space to play, exercise, and have sports is important for children.
Why is the mascot a lamb?
We don’t really know why the founders chose the lamb, but we can guess. It may be because of the school’s location in an area with farmland and fields.
Why is the Downing gym underground?
The part of the building where the Downing gym is (and the Kiva and the Labyrinth also) was built for our middle school and opened in 2002. Before that, BDS was a school for children in pre-kindergarten to grade 6. The school had to follow the Town of Belmont’s rules for this addition to the Schoolhouse—we were not allowed to build up, so we built down!