Congratulations to newly accepted students and families!

Congratulations to newly accepted students and families! We look forward to welcoming you to our vibrant community.

In the meantime, we are eager for you to feel connected and informed about our program and school news. For that, we have the Waynflete Wire, a blog that provides an inside look at the student experience and community events. To learn more about our program, click the “Lower School” in the header above.

Anne Hopkins
Lower School Director

Kids’ Choice in 2-3

“Kids’ Choice” in Waynflete’s 2-3 program is a thematic study that emerges from students’ suggestions about subjects they would like to explore in greater depth.

Medieval Times

There were several highlights! One of the students’ favorite classes was when we studied the early castles, which mostly consisted of a “keep” on a “motte” with a “bailey” surrounded by a “stockade” and “ditch.” After learning these key terms and their functions, we went outside on a beautiful sunny day and built these early fortresses in the snow with partners. They had to build each part and label it.

Another favorite day was learning all about how to attack and defend a castle.  We split the class in half—the attacking army and the defending army—and turned tables over to create a castle wall.  We acted out using a battering ram, catapult, trebuchet, and siege tower to undermine the castle wall.  The defending army acted out using archers, flaming arrows, hot sand and oil, siege towers, and the structural defenses like the drawbridge and the portcullis.

Lastly, we made catapults using tongue depressors, rubber bands, and a plastic spoon. We had a great time using our catapults to launch jumbo marshmallows at block towers to try to knock them down.


We spent the month studying snakes (taxonomy, characteristics of reptiles, snake anatomy) and had several special guest speakers. Kate Ziminsky came in twice, bringing in snake parts from Chewonki to share with us and then returning with Avi’s dad Alex and their pet snake, a Columbian red-tailed boa.  We also had Denise Cieri of Herp Haven Reptile Rescue come to show us six different live snakes. We saw a 25-pound blood python, a common boa, a royal python, and three corn snakes in different morphs (colors.)


We learned about the internal and external anatomy of sharks and spent some time talking about the largest living shark (the whale shark) and the smallest shark (the dwarf lantern shark). We also learned more about the now-extinct Megalodon, the highlight of which was measuring it’s length (49 feet), longer than one of the 2-3 classrooms! The culminating event was a trip to the UNE Biddeford Marine Science Center, where graduate students showed us spiny dogfish sharks from the Gulf of Maine. We got to touch a shark —her name was Lynette—and and learn more about them. We also got to see and touch different shark jaws and teeth.


Students were introduced to a brief history of robotics, including what the science is and how robots have been and are being used today. Students practiced using specific command language to guide other students to construct exact copies of simple designs without any visual clues. Next, they explored commanding Sphero robotic balls with iPads; using a coding app, they then programmed their ball to navigate a large floor maze. Finally, everyone designed, built, and operated a simple drawing machine that created various scribble designs on paper. 


Also opening in September 2018: Lower School playgrounds!

Last Wednesday, during our afternoon faculty meetings, Lower School teachers developed some guiding principles for refurbishing the outdoor playscapes that will be open for business next September:

  • Our outdoor playscapes should reflect our Lower School values and support the development of the whole child—their physical, social, emotional selves—fostering joy, collaboration, creativity, imagination, problem solving, and safe risktaking.
  • Our playscapes should aim to be as flexible as the indoor spaces have been designed to be, so that as our needs and programs evolve—and the ideas of the children grow the possibilities—our spaces can evolve along with them.
  • The opportunities for play should be multifaceted, providing children with the freedom to be playful and to move and explore in wide and varied ways: climbing, swinging, sliding, hanging, sledding, digging, running, investigating, creating, building, designing…
  • Our playscapes should use natural materials and encourage connection and good stewardship of the natural world and the environment.

The faculty then participated in a design challenge. Each pair of teachers was given a bag of six items and asked to :

  • Design something that is representative of our playscape planning guiding principles.
  • Use at least three items in the bag.
  • Complete the challenge in 15 minutes.

Moving forward, the Lower School faculty plans to visit outdoor play spaces in the area to further inform our process. Later in the spring, students will also be involved in the re-visioning and planning for the playground areas surrounding our new building.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have ideas that you would like considered? Have you seen a playground that you think is exemplary that you think should be a model for the Waynflete playscapes? Have you imagined a playground element or structure that your child would love? Share your thoughts now!

Click here to submit your ideas

Thematic studies in 4-5

Thematic studies are designed for interdisciplinary immersion in an age-appropriate, high-interest topic. Students acquire and employ skills in a wide range of disciplines and have many opportunities to extend and enrich their learning through open-ended exercises.

4-5 students were recently immersed in the thematic study of the westward movement of people in the mid-to-late 1800s. Students learned about the Native Americans who lived out west (and the impact that settler movement had on those communities), about our country’s geography and landmarks, and the ecosystems of the West. Using historical fiction novels, students learned about the culture of the time period and grappled with the real-life questions of the time. “What does it mean to make a new beginning? What are the challenges that people face when leaving the familiar and moving to the unknown?” Geography, history, reading, writing, physical education, art, technology, and physical and social sciences were all incorporated in the experience.

Continue reading “Thematic studies in 4-5”

Math Lunches in 2-3 and 4-5

Math Lunch is an opportunity for students who are interested in mathematics to get together with other math enthusiasts to work on math challenges. Most 2-3 and 4-5  students have participated in a math lunch over the past three weeks. Lower School Director Anne Hopkins, Math Department Chair Lisa Kramer, 2-3 Learning Specialist Heather Tanguay, and all 2-3 and 4-5 advisors have supported the Math Lunch program and participated in the numeracy fun.

Math Lunch problems are designed to be accessible to all students (i.e., it is important that everyone who is interested in participating is able to understand the problem of the day). At the same time, we choose problems that allow for extension and challenge for students who have stronger number sense and computational fluency. Pebble Math required students to place “pebbles” within five zones whereby the sum of each two adjacent zones was a given number. Pebble Math encourages students to solve the problem using actual pebbles—in our case, mini pasta shells—allowing for quick engagement with the work. Most children worked with a guess-and-check approach, placing a few pebbles in a zone and then adjusting as the numbers indicated. Students immediately started noticing patterns, developing theories, and making predictions based on experimentation. Pebble Math was a big hit in 2-3.

We recently introduced 4-5 Math Lunch students to Ken-Ken, a popular Japanese arithmetic/logic puzzle that was designed to be an instruction-free opportunity for problem solving. Ken Ken problems can be found in many newspapers alongside the Sudoku and Crossword puzzles as well as on the Ken Ken website. Ken Ken problems are leveled by size and difficulty, allowing children lots of opportunities for fun and challenge.