Offering In-Person School. Covid-19 Precautions In Place.
We recognize and celebrate each child's uniqueness.
We believe that everything we do should reflect respect for each child, their potential, individuality, and humanity. In our approach to education, we seek to help children become independent, self-disciplined, internally motivated, and enthusiastic learners through the curriculum we use, the environments we design, and the methods of guiding development and behavior we employ. Acton students learn to use knowledge as a tool to become independent thinkers and creative problem solvers.
Children in our Montessori studio will learn by working with specially designed hands-on learning materials and extensive outdoor play.
Montessori studios include mixed ages and mixed skill-levels. Peer learning is encouraged as the little ones learn from observing their older friends, and the older children solidify their understanding by sharing with younger peers.
Role of the "Teacher"
A Montessori teacher is referred to as a Guide, rather than a teacher, reflecting their non-traditional role. A Montessori Guide is often hard to find in the Studio, as they are generally working one-on-one with a child rather than standing at the front of the room talking to the whole group. Maria Montessori saw the teacher’s role as providing children with tools for learning, rather than pouring knowledge and facts into them.
After modeling how something is done, the Guide steps back and allows the children to be free. Guides do not provide unnecessary aid to a child struggling with work or facing a challenge. They allow time and space for the struggle to happen and for the child to work through it. “Rescuing is robbery.”
Freedom Within Limits
The work in our Montessori studio is child-directed. The Guide gives a child a lesson on a material he/she hasn’t used before, but the child can then independently choose to work on it when he/she pleases. Children in our Montessori studio choose where to sit and what to work on, with guidance from their Guide.
Educating The Whole Child
Montessori focuses on educating the whole child, including physical, social, mental, and emotional education. Learning takes place through movement and incorporates all the senses, creating pathways and synapses in the brain that cannot be undone. It includes purposeful movement and does not dictate that children sit still and silent. It also incorporates both left brain and right brain learning, and it values each equally. Intelligence is not preferred over physical or emotional development, and the child’s emotional health is at the forefront. Most importantly, learning is not something that ends in grade 12 or at age 18; it is a lifelong quest for personal fulfillment.
In our Montessori studio, each learner is likely engaged in a different academic level observed and tracked by the Guide. Rather than giving group lessons, Montessori Guides gives one-on-one or small group lessons to each learner depending on their specific needs.
Mindfulness and Community Service Education
We place great emphasis on community, both the studio community and the broader global community we’re a part of. Children learn about the world and also learn tools for calming themselves and conducting peaceful conflict resolution. Children are encouraged to participate in service projects developing empathy, gratitude, and the ability to be servant leaders.
Children’s progress is at their own pace, and artificial deadlines and academic pressure are nonexistent. Equal importance to academic progression is growing in personal virtue, often described within Montessori as grace and courtesy.
Our Montessori learning environment is organized into several distinct areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Quest, Art, and Geography.
Children learn skills used in everyday life. The child observes these activities in the environment and gains knowledge through the real experience of purposefully accomplishing life skills.
Grace and Courtesy:
Children learn manners like making eye contact, greeting “hello” with a handshake, apologizing, asking for help, excusing oneself, offering a snack, watching/observing a friend, speaking softly, etc.
The senses’ education uses activities to help children sort out the different impressions given by the senses. Examples of sensory activities are the knobbed cylinders, pink tower, touch boards, fabric and textiles, sound cylinders, bells, etc.
The study of mathematics offers gifts far beyond numeracy and calculation. It allows children to develop and exercise their reasoning minds. It teaches children how to evaluate situations, mentally test hypotheses, employ problem-solving strategies, derive conclusions, and articulate them clearly.
As has been recognized since the Ancient Greeks’ time, math serves as the best model for, and the best practice for, core aspects of human reasoning. These are critical skills that learners will need in their future workplaces, in their personal lives, indeed in every aspect of navigating a world increasingly characterized by demanding, rapid change.
The Montessori approach uses a distinct set of practices that nurture a positive, natural learning experience to teach reading and writing. Our Montessori curriculum is thoughtfully built around teaching children the many elements of reading and writing one by one, accessible to and enjoyable by a child.
Acton Seacoast takes an applied approach to non-English languages, focusing on communication. Whereas traditional language programs focus on textbook learning and grammar, our program emulates the manner in which we each learned our first language – immersive, interactive communication first, grammar second.
In our elementary and spark studios, students have the opportunity to learn French interactively via Total Physical Response (TPR) and Storytelling (TPRS). This method engages students by having them respond to and narrate actions and stories in French. We plan on offering Spanish and potentially other languages as we find fluent language guides able to teach interactively in complete immersion.
We measure success in learning a language by the students achieving sufficient confidence and fluency to be able to comfortably and enthusiastically communicate in the target language. Students should celebrate opportunities to apply their language.
Additionally, students are encouraged to pursue their language of choice independently using online tools such as Duolingo and the conversion of their devices to their target language.
Here Are A Few FAQs We Get A Lot:
Acton is the right place for your child if they…
- Wish traditional school was more challenging and engaging.
- Enjoy doing projects around their interests with just a few dozen young people.
- Build, create, innovate, or make art.
- See things differently.
- Care about their future, want to find a calling, and want to change the world.
- Are kind, hardworking, and committed to doing their best.
Acton uses the best of Montessori methods: mixed-age classrooms, student choice within limits,
large blocks of work time, learning through “discovery,” and freedom of movement in the
classroom. Then we go two important steps further by using the best 21st century eLearning
tools and adhering to the Socratic method of instruction which emphasizes asking and answering
the right questions to stimulate critical thinking. Our students don’t just memorize facts, they learn
how to know, learn how to do, and learn how to be.
- Real world apprenticeships
- Student-directed quests
- Language immersion opportunities
- Mastery based learning in core academic subjects
- Leadership opportunities peer:peer
- Experiential learning of integrated life skills
- Flexible schedule 6-week long sessions
- Students direct and take ownership of their learning
- Learn self-governance, self-direction, and self-control towards noble, challenging, and stimulating activities
We provide a 21st century learning environment using the latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing, elective courses, and math skills. Students are placed according to ability so that our program can meet the student right where they are. Students move on to the next level only after the content has been mastered, which ensures there are no learning gaps.
We believe that students become confident, independent learners, and good citizens when they embrace the following character qualities: integrity, resilience, self-reflection, and empathy. We believe in personal responsibility and high accountability standards. Acton students are encouraged to take responsibility for their choices and actions as we think developing a strong moral compass will help students lead joyful and successful lives. Character learning is woven into all parts of learning at Acton.
At Acton Academy Seacoast we believe in learning to be and learning to do and an important
part of this is encouraging kids to take responsibility for their own behavior and hold those around
them to a high standard. When something isn’t working, we want our students to work together to
solve the problem, not look for an adult to solve it for them. This creates a sense of
independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.
We believe that children learn best when working with those younger and older than themselves
rather than split up into groups based solely on age. We have three studios: Spark (K/1), Explorer
(2-5), and Launch Pad (6-10).
We measure student progress in several different ways:
- We set daily, weekly, and session goals between the student and the Guides.
- We utilize robust real-time data for each of our online learning tools.
- At any given time both parents and Guides can find out exactly what their student is learning. It
easily allows us to track progress, identify areas of struggle and close any learning gaps.
- The staff is alerted if a student gets anymore than 2 wrong in a row.
- Having a small class size, we are able to work one on one with the student to make sure that we
can close gaps and help them master the skill.
- The web based programs don’t allow the student to move on to the next skill until it has been
- We utilize individual paper portfolios where each student showcases and adds their best work.
- We can measure their growth in things such as History, Writer’s Workshops, and any Quest use
projects we have.
- Though we never “teach to the test”, optional standardized tests are given each Fall & Spring
provide useful benchmark data.
- We create portfolios of work that translates to traditional transcripts.
- Additionally, students are encouraged to take advantage of classes and certifications while at Acton that are recognized by employers and colleges. These include AP classes and professional certifications.
- Acton translates the mastery badges to a traditional report card format
At Acton Academy, we believe in the power of balance. Using the incredible, self-paced eLearning
tools now available, we are able to provide the rigor needed for learning math, vocabulary, spelling
and grammar in about 90 minutes each day, while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-
based learning. The two are highly complementary. Those learners in the Spark Studio (K/1) do not
use technology for their academic work period. It is Montessori based for that age group.
For our first two years we will be located in a beautiful space in the Cocheco Mills Building
directly across from Henry Law Park in Downtown Dover. Our long term plans are to buy property
and build a school with lots of space and nature allowing more outdoor exploration for the
We operate on an 11- month calendar, but our flexible program allows families to travel together during the year, without sacrificing any learning.
From glow-in-the-dark contemporary painting to making music with ukuleles, boomwackers, and paint buckets, our students experience varied and unique art and music workshops. Checkout our YouTube channel to see music videos produced and recorded by our students.
Although we do not offer formal team sports, many of our students participate in city league sports. Our school embraces a deep commitment to physical fitness and overall health awareness. Acton students explore a variety of physical activities that have ranged from soccer, golf, track, hiking, dance, and rock climbing. Our students are very active, and we strongly support good sportsmanship and teamwork.
Makerspace Coming Soon
We believe each child is a maker, innately gifted with creativity, wonder, and curiosity. Our Makerspace is a hands-on think tank for children and teens that provides materials, both low tech and high tech, where they can create and prototype. Students build, tinker, problem-solve, and think like entrepreneurs and inventors. We will eventually have a wide variety of items in our Makerspace like a green screen for film production, podcast equipment, robots, engineering tools, textiles and fabrics along with sewing machines, coding and animation programs, book illustration options, 3-d printer, wood kits for building, and lots of raw materials for open-ended creation.