Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Warm Welcome

Give a Warm Welcome to Our New Executive Director

We hope that many of you have had the opportunity throughout the summer to meet our new Executive Director Melissa Caldwell. The administrative team, teachers, and parents have enjoyed welcoming Melissa on board, and she has quickly become a valued member of the SCS community. Melissa's education and experience will become an asset to our school as she leads us into the future. Melissa carries three degrees, a Bachelor's in Elementary Education with a Mathematics concentration (UMaine Farmington), a Master's in Literacy Education (University of Southern Maine), and also holds a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership (University of New England). Her 21 years in teaching, advocacy in project-based learning, as well as working in leadership roles that ranged from; being an elementary school principal to a Director of Professional Growth, where shetrained teachers and expanded Pre-K programming, to working with the Maine Department of Education to create and implement curriculum for Pre-K, provides a strong foundation to leading Seacoast Community School. With her experience and knowledge, Melissa is looking forward to supporting Seacoast Community Schools' mission of providing nurturing care and exceptional education to all children of the Seacoast.  

At SCS, we believe that a strong social and emotional foundation is the core of a child's development and happy childhood. Melissa believes in this foundation and looks forward to giving children early learning experiences that will set them up for success. Melissa plans to make a difference here at SCS, advocating for the children and for the teachers. Behind the scenes of education are the teachers who plan, implement, and provide learning opportunities for children. Melissa's passion to help teachers and children, stems from her own childhood. "School didn't come easy to me and I was shy and quiet. It took some amazing teachers to help build my confidence and they set me on a path to leadership." Today, Melissa is a leader that recognizes that she is a small part of someone's story, and that she can leave a positive impact on someone's educational journey, just like teachers had done for her in the past. This is her favorite part of living her life in education; no matter how small a piece of someone's story, her advocacy and support will help teachers and children reach their full potential! 

When Melissa isn't advocating for education, she is with her children Lucian (10) and Maia (5). They can be found on the soccer field, lacrosse field, or  at the dance studio; it certainly keeps them all busy. As a family they love the many memories they create at Great Moose Lake in Maine, where they enjoy being on the waterpaddleboarding, water skiing, spending time on the boat, swimming etc

Take a Look at Some Moments From the 2022 Summer Art Show!


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Summer Arrives!

Summer Vibes

SCS is ready to dive into summer! The preschool classes have wrapped up celebrating their school year, giving special recognition to those headed to the big school. With the close of the public schools for the summer, PEAK begins its summer schedule. We are ready to put on swimsuits, enjoy the sun and jump through the sprinkler! With all things geared toward fun in the sun, ECE and PEAK are sure to make some awesome SCS memories this summer! It's time for the summer vibes! 

The Art Show Returns

Experience Our Art
July 28th at 5pm.

After the last couple of years, Seacoast Community School is excited to announce the return of our Annual Art Show! The art show is a family event that brings us all together. It's a time to experience all the SCS classrooms, celebrate the children of the school and connect with teachers. The children take time to learn about art theory, self-expression, and their senses. At all age levels, art is as essential. We welcome you to our exhibit. How will our gallery leave you feeling; will it inspire you? 

The Sea Otters Welcome Kaitlyn

With excitement, the Sea Otters welcome our former Rainbowfish teacher, Kaitlyn, to lead our curious preschool kiddos! After graduating with a Bachelor in Early Education from Florida Atlantic University, Kaitlyn continued to follow her calling, starting her career with us, and has been with us since. She quickly found a love for teaching and she is looking forward to the next chapter in her career here at SCS. With her new role as a lead teacher, she is most looking forward to seeing children reach their potential and witnessing their joy in learning and discovering new things. 

When Kaitlyn isn't following her dreams as a teacher, she enjoys reading, fishing, and spending time at the beach. If Kaitlyn isn't involved in one of her hobbies, you can be sure to find her with family and friends, or hanging with her two-year-old puppy Ziggy. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

SCS Welcomes Spring!

 SCS Welcomes Spring!

After a winter of fun, celebrations, and enjoying the snow, Seacoast Community School is ready to enjoy spring! Children have already begun to enjoy the weather outside, and explore the earth as it awakens from winter. Take a look at some moments as the children get outdoors more! 

Maple Tapping

An important part of the transition into spring begins with the yearly maple tapping project! SCS loves when the Santy Family arrives, drill in hand, to show the preschool children how to tap the maple tree! The preschool children take turns tapping the tree, measuring the sap collected, and learning the process behind making maple syrup. For the younger classrooms, this becomes a curiosity on a class walk and an important topic of discussion in their class! It also becomes a project to look forward to as the children grow here at Seacoast Community School!

The Portsmouth Elk's Support SCS

At SCS we believe in providing exceptional education to all children. All children should have access to quality education and SCS continues to make that possible through the help of our community! We are grateful to Portsmouth Elks for supporting the SCS Scholarship Fund! With the efforts of the community, we were able to raise over $1000. Thank you to all that helped support this fund so that all children can have access to education. If you were unable to attend, and still wish to donate to the scholarship fund, please reach out to SCS at 

The Week of the Young Child

One of the most exciting weeks in early education is The Week of the Young Child sponsored by NAEYC. As teachers, we spend the week planning and creating opportunities to recognize the importance of the child. The early education industry connects with families on how early childhood education impacts their child. It is a week that is dedicated to working as a community to meet the needs of children and their families.  At SCS we focused on strengthening relationships with our families this year. We hope you were able to take some time to build a memory with your child during the Week of the Young Child this year!


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Play-Based Learning

What is Play-Based Learning? 

At Seacoast Community School, a vital part of our culture is steeped in the phrase learning through play or perhaps, more simply put, play-based learning. It is a concept that can seem strange at first because when someone thinks about play, the learning process is not what first comes into mind. Perhaps it's years of separating the concept of education and play or even the idea of "work" and "play" being two individual tasks. However, after years of research, play-based learning really shows us that for children, learning happens through play. When learning is thought of through this evidence-based philosophy, the environment the child is immersed in becomes a place for the child to learn from. And thus, it is not uncommon to hear early childhood educators refer to the environment as "another teacher" in the room. As a child is engaged in the environment around them, open-ended materials and socialization with peers provide them an opportunity to learn.

Here children are working together,
using their social, emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development.

Another critical element to play-based learning is a child's social and emotional development. At SCS we recognize the importance of a child's social and emotional foundation and understand the importance it has on a child's development. By providing positive and supportive relationships with children in a safe and secure environment, SCS promotes a child's social and emotional growth. We believe that our philosophy in helping your child gain a strong social and emotional foundation is the building block to all their areas of development. Sophea, our periwinkle teacher explains that our philosophies  “allow a child to learn the skills of negotiation, problem-solving,  sharing, and working within groups. Children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, and discover their own interests during play”. Our educational model at SCS can be seen at all levels, from the infant classes to our afterschool programs in P.E.A.K.

All ages experience play-based learning here at SCS

Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Professor of Child Health and Development and the Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University explained play-based learning perfectly. 

What play is about is early on, beginning in the earliest of infancy, really, shortly after birth, is if you think about what babies do...the eye contact, the beginning of a smile, the cooing, and the vocalizations... then handing something, and grabbing it, and giving it back. And, all of those very simple interactions early on are playful interactions... when babies become more mobile, and they’re rolling over, and then they’re crawling, being able to reach for things, and grab things... And sometimes, hopefully, you leave the child alone in a safe place and let the child explore...All of this, a lot of people may not think of that as play...But that is the beginning of play. It’s the beginning of active learning, discovery, curiosity, trying things, learning from what happens when you do something, action, and reaction...And then, as you get older and you start to play more organized games... rules about taking turns, rules about following instructions, all of this...and then as they get into the school-age years, organized games, sports, more challenging board games, again, now most people would say, oh, yeah, that’s like play. That’s what play is all about. But it started much earlier, and it started with the foundation that was all about discovery, creativity, exploration, learning (Pfizer, 2022). 

The above example of parallel play is offering children a social and emotional learning opportunity. Parallel play is the building block to playing with others, as they can observe each other, learn to be comfortable sharing their space, and even try a new skill the other is doing (imitation). As you also see in this picture, these children are working on their physical development. Maintaining balance while pushing a car is actually a difficult skill to learn! The children are working on their fine motor skills as they determine the exact pressure to have in their handgrip as well! Although we are not right there we can imagine that they are processing where to move the truck, how to maneuver in the space, assessing speed, and perhaps how to avoid (or cause) a crash! Certainly, their cognitive skills are being put to the test! Look at the other two pictures above, the team building in the block area, and our baby engaged in a toy while enjoying tummy time. Do you see the play-based learning opportunities?

Whether a child is in one of our infant, toddler, preschool classrooms, or P.E.A.K programs, SCS stands behind the play-based learning philosophy. We will continue to provide an exceptional education for years to come; building resilient, empathetic, curious, and confident children of the future. 

Are you looking for additional information on play-based learning? Be sure to check out the full podcast with Dr. Jack Shonkoff at To dive further into the play-based learning be sure to check out NAEYC,

Sunday, February 13, 2022

My Visit to the Meadows Preschool

Visiting the Meadows Preschool

As I walked in, I felt like a child again, entering the school for the first time…

We all know that feeling, the “I’m new to the school” feeling. However, as I entered our Meadows Preschool program for the first time, it didn’t take long for the nerves to settle and disappear. As an SCS teacher, I was excited to see how the Meadows had grown over the past two years. As I stood, surrounded by the silence before a school day beings, my eagerness to walk around and to enter the world the children experience every day, quickly captivated me. It gave me a chance to appreciate the children’s current study topics, and to see the intentional learning environment that welcomed children to come in and play. 

During my visit, the children and I enjoyed time around the sensory table with new jewels and valentine-themed rice, heart baking cups, pails, and valentine recipe cards. As the activity grew, we spent time, solving problems and sharing, counting, recognizing numbers, discussing basics to volume and amounts, and these are only to name a few. As the day continued, children participated in various activities, like playing in a NASA space shuttle, solving puzzles, balancing towers, creating a class banner, and making predictions on Groundhog Day. Aside from the activities that I participated in with the Meadows preschool, I also was able to learn some of the most memorable experiences the school has had. This has included delivering hot chocolate out to the big kids at the bus stop, caroling to their neighbors, daily friends waving hello, providing valentines to their elders, and staying in touch with children that have graduated. My favorite observation didn’t lie in the child solving a puzzle or building the tallest tower, it wasn’t even when one child told me, "I'm learning. I like to learn and love school. I like to see my teachers” (although it’s a close second!), but rather it was listening to how Lori and Maggie, the two Meadows teachers, interacted with the children. Their interactions with the children were founded in empathy and patience and promoted a child's self-worth, determination, curiosity, and creativity. 

At SCS, our philosophy is centered on the importance of building a child’s social and emotional development. It is this strong foundation that will provide children with further success in all areas of their learning and development. The relationships that our school cultivates, with children and their families, are arguably the most important element to all that we do at SCS. My visit with the Meadows has shown me how it has fully become a vital part of the Seacoast Community School identity. I am grateful for the chance I had to see the preschool, and want to thank the Meadows teachers for sharing their classrooms with me. 

If you have any questions about any of our SCS programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Coordinator at

Current SCS Happenings

Implementing the Pyramid Model

SCS is excited to participate in the Pyramid Model Consortium, which is in partnership with the NH Department of Education and the NH DHHS. The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based system that supports social and emotional development in early childhood education classrooms. Based on our current work in the Seacoast, and the alignment the Pyramid Model has to SCS philosophy and mission, we were selected to begin the process of implementing this model in our school. The model will begin in our Clownfish and Rainbowfish classrooms, with the long-term goal across all SCS classrooms.

Professional Development Day April 15, 2022

Although our school is closed for the day, our teachers will have the opportunity to study and learn more about the Pyramid Model. If you would like some further information on the Pyramid Model Consortium, you can find some information here:

Art Show

SCS is excited to begin thinking about the Art Show again this year! The art show has been a favorite event for children and their families in years past. It was a time to celebrate the children! Please stay tuned for additional information on the Art Show.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

New Administrators at SCS


Administrative Changes Abound

"Leadership is an action, not a position." -Donald McGannon

Sarah Fleck 

New Director of Development and Family Services 

Sarah Fleck is an administrator that brings joy to the hallways of our school. Her enthusiasm and dedication to her work is visible to all that cross her path. In fact, Sarah's journey at SCS started because of her love to connect families with an educational community. With a background in Business Management and operational auditing, she surprised herself in finding a new passion; early childhood administration. What started as volunteering her time to improve the school, became a position at SCS, as the Development and Marketing Coordinator.  When the opening for SCS Family Services Director came along this past summer, it was not difficult to recognize that Sarah's genuine compassion for families was a great reason to promote her to the Director of Development and Family Services. 

In her new role, she is looking forward to meshing her previous job of marketing and community outreach, with the family service goals of finding the resources and providing solutions for all children to be able to attend our program. Her new role has really opened her mind to "all the hoops that they [families] have to jump through, and the sacrifices they have to make to get their child into early education". Now, as Sarah continues to work on development and fundraising for the school, she can combine the two positions together. Sarah believes that families should not have to face so many barriers for a quality education, and she can work to alleviate them.  Lastly she stated, "Their [families] dedication to giving their child quality education fuels me to work harder, to fight harder for them." We welcome her to her new position and are excited to see families benefit from her compassion, empathy, and experience. 

Jess DuBois

New PEAK Program Director

I am sure that many parents have had the opportunity to meet our new PEAK Program Director over the last couple months, but if you haven't please do so! Jess DeBois has taken on her knew role with vigor, bringing fresh ideas and steadfast leadership to our PEAK afterschool program. Jess believes that "Education and childcare in specific is a constantly groundbreaking field. We are a group of professionals that focus on molding the future by bringing innovative practices to this population." One of her missions upon joining SCS, was to take time to listen to the needs of teachers and families, believing that standing with her teachers and providing support for them is crucial.  Whether building relationships with teachers or our families, her "nothing-is-impossible" approach makes for visionary thinking. Her commitment to bringing us all together, and molding the children of our future, will bring not only positive change, but make the PEAK program a truly wonderful experience for all.


Rebecca Daly

New Assistant Early Childhood Program Director 

Needless to say, but "Beccy" Daly has done it all. With 17 years of early childhood education experience, she has seen every aspect of the industry; including running her own family based early education program. She feels that it is here at SCS that she has found a place that is a home away from home. For the past nine years, Beccy has had the same goal every day. "As a teacher of young children it is my job to make a positive impact in their day to day experiences. My job is to love, nurture, and help them grow strong in body and mind, as well as to learn independence, self worth, trust, and friendship. We do this through play, and without realizing it, the children are learning." As Beccy is promoted to being the Assistant Director to the Early Childhood Program, we are all sure to benefit from her passion and integrity here at SCS. Ultimately, she is excited to share her love and knowledge of the classroom, as well as share in the values and philosophies of SCS. She is excited to build these relationships with all members of the SCS family; from the staff, to the parents to extended members of the community.  With her extensive knowledge of our SCS culture, NAEYC standards, and knowledge of NH State Licensing, she will provide needed support to our teachers and the administrative team.

Jamie Winn

New Admissions Coordinator

SCS is proud to announce the promotion of one of our Lead teachers, Jamie Winn as the new Admissions Coordinator. Jamie is sure to bring her skills of patience, organization, and kindness to the administrative team. She looks forward to using her role to support teachers and families in the admissions process. She values the importance of communication, and is looking forward to working with the staff and families for a successful and meaningful transition of children into classrooms. Jamie started working in early childhood back in high school, and quickly found her niche in the infant room. Splitting her responsibilities in and out of the classroom, she believes that her role as a teacher will be vital to her role in Admissions, and comments that "she loves that her experience is a great resource to parents". With over ten years here at SCS, Jamie is a constant and dependable resource for all families and staff; we look forward to her new role in this school and know it will make a lasting impact on our community. 

Peter Gilmore

Congratulations on Retirement! 

As many of you know our Executive Director, Peter Gilmore is going to be retiring at the start of January in the New Year. Peter's leadership and guidance for our school is going to be greatly missed. Every teacher has been witness to his efforts to get to know each and every child and their family at the school. In his time he worked tirelessly to build a strong Board, improve relationships in the community, and hold up our reputation as the best early childhood education program in the Seacoast region. He worked for all the voices of the school too: children, teachers, parents, and to extended family members. Peter has no doubt left a lasting impact on all who worked with him. Here at SCS, his direction, vision, and previous experience in independent schools brought us to a new place, and provided a light for the early childhood industry. At SCS, we are excited to recognize Peter for all his leadership and guidance, and congratulate him on his retirement. Thank you Peter! 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

October 2021


I Blog For You

I am sitting on the edge of my seat as I write this short introduction, because I am excited for our journey ahead! I have been given a fun and exciting opportunity to share the upcoming news of Seacoast Community School with you-and I couldn't be more thrilled! This will be a journey, an epic journey, because it is going to be my job to give you front row tickets into our school.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Destiny and I am part of the preschool team teaching the Sea Turtles. I have two passions-teaching and writing. As an educator I firmly believe in helping children find their voices; becoming independent, confident, beings that believe in themselves, work towards kindness and reach for their dreams. As your new blogger I get to share all these teachable moments, school announcements, celebrate the staff here, and even promote learning opportunities for the community. We get to discuss the impact early childhood education has on children, their families and the community. So please, after reading a blog post, ask questions, make comments, or simply share them with your friends and family. Seacoast Community School is honored to have this avenue to promote discussion, ideas, change and fellowship for our early education community. Are you ready? I am!

Spooktacular Reflections

Halloween is a special time for young kids and at SCS, we love helping them celebrate it!  The Preschool team came together to bring some joy and excitement to our families this holiday, and had the children decorate the hallway to show their "spirits".  We miss having families see what we are are doing every day in the classroom, so this was a small way to bring the lessons out and beyond!

Here at Seacoast Community School, we firmly believe in the process over the product. We hope that while looking through the Haunted Hallway parents could see and feel the fun that the children had this past month. The Clownfish were proud to bring a favorite fall song forward with their artwork of The Five Little Pumpkins. In the Sea Turtles, close attention to imagination and learning through literature was prevalent in their art pieces. The Sea Otters and Stingrays took the time to really work on their fine motor development and following directions.  The process behind a project develops basic skills, such as cutting and gluing. Art can also promote spatial awareness. Working on a multi-step project helps children work on their focus, direction following, and problem solving.  

Haunted Doorway Voting

Parents and visitors had the opportunity to vote on their favorite door decorations. This was such an exciting opportunity for all families to enjoy. Children just loved it, and voting each day during the week was common!

Check out the math the Preschool team enjoyed by making their graph of the data gathered. By using graphing, teachers promote math concepts beyond counting, such as more than, less than, and equal to.  We hope the Haunted Hallway decor brought smiles and joy to every family!

Rainbow Fish Share Live Discoveries

In the Rainbow Fish toddler classroom, the children were showing great interest studying farm life! When it comes to curiosity and finding answers, SCS loves to help children investigate, so it was an easy decision for the Rainbow Fish to decide they were going to hatch chickens in the classroom! Within the week, the class had eggs in an incubator, and the lesson on chickens was underway! 21 days of observations, discussion and care for these little eggs captivated each of the children. Upon arrival of 7 baby chicks to the classroom, they were excited and eager to share their experiences with the whole school.

Food Drive to Help GATHER Food Bank Launches

Gather has an incredible mission, "Ending Hunger in our Community".  Seacoast Community School is proud to support this organization, which provides healthy and nutritious meals to those in need. Gather is a non-profit organization that has been serving the Greater Seacoast, with it's hunger-ending roots, as far back as 1816! Please help us with our food drive this November for Gather!  Donations can be dropped off with your teacher or the main office. Thank you so much for your help, and for more information on Gather please check them out at 

We hope everyone has a wonderful fall and are just excited
as we are for the upcoming holidays!