Special Events and Programs
Creation of Stepping Stones for Schoolyard
All K-8 children create a stepping stone (with their name, the year, and their own design) for the schoolyard. Each spring, any newly enrolled K-8 students join this tradition by creating their own stone to add to the schoolyard.
Country Studies/Feasts (Elementary classes)
Elementary students engage in several “country studies” each year, corresponding to the continents being studied as part of their geography and cultural studies curriculum. Students choose a country to research, and then create the maps and flag for their country and prepare their country studies binder, where they present information they have researched about their chosen country (including basic country facts, geography/physical features, plants and animals, arts/music/culture, sports, important industries or products, common foods, agriculture and important crops, and other interesting things about their country). These studies culminate with a Country Feast, where children prepare foods representative of their countries to share with their classmates and families. The children also present and display their maps, flags, and binders at the feast. These feasts are a special tradition at our school, enjoyed by students, parents, and teachers alike!!
In-School Birthday Celebrations (Primary class)
In the Primary class, we celebrate the birthday children of each month once per month. The child’s parents attend this celebration and may share a few photos of the child from earlier years. The birthday child shares a special or favorite snack with the class and selects a favorite book from our shelves as the read-a-loud book for that morning. Alternately, the child’s family may elect to purchase a book to donate to the classroom in honor of the child’s birthday—if this is the case, the donated book is the read-a-loud book.
Field Trip destinations in the past have included the Waterville Opera House for theatrical and musical productions, Viles Arboretum natural world programs, Maine State Museum, MOFGA Common Ground Fair, Popham Beach, Longfellow’s Greenhouses, the “Tadpole Patrol” boat on Cobbossee Lake, and Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, Goodwill Hinkley Museum of Natural History, and the Boston Museum of Science. In most cases, field trips are scheduled to correspond to curricular studies in the classrooms. We generally have between 2 and 5 field trips per year, with an average cost of $4.00 per trip.
National Geographic Bee Contest
Students in grades 4-8 have the opportunity to participate in the National Geographic Bee school-level contest in January each year, if they so choose. The school-level winner may qualify for the Maine State-level Geographic Bee, held in early April. We offer an after school Geography Bee Club for those who want extra practice for the Bee and/or have a high interest in geography.
Scripps National Spelling Bee
Stepping Stones participates in this national Spelling Bee in December and we send representatives to the county Spelling Bee in February. In 2012, one of our students won the Kennebec County Spelling Bee.
Holiday Celebrations and Holidays Around the World in December
We celebrate various holidays throughout the year at the school, including Valentines Day, Halloween, Easter/Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Earth Day with special classroom activities. Generally, special class parties are held for Valentines Day and Halloween. Each December, we hold an annual holiday music program. The show involves the children performing musical numbers celebrating holidays from many different cultures.
End-of-the-Year Exit Exhibitions (Elementary classes)
Each year, in May, the Elementary children begin preparations for their End-of-the-Year Exit Exhibitions. This is a major research project for the Elementary children. Children write a report on their chosen topic, as well as develop a tri-fold visual display showing what they have learned. Topics are self-selected, within a broad category assigned by the teachers. These broad categories in the past have included: heroes, careers, medical/health, inventors/inventions, environmental awareness, and habitats/ biomes. Student work is presented in a museum or fair-like style on the last day of school. This is a perfect public speaking opportunity for the children as they present their new expertise to the parents/visitors who view their exhibits.
Our Middle School Program includes a one day per week self-chosen apprenticeship component. See the Middle School Page.
“Our aim is not to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.”