On a recent visit to Mrs. Alexander’s School, at 80 Lothrop Street, in Beverly, I arrived at the tail end of school drop-off and got a peek into the wonderful school community. Parents and kids walking into school, greeting each other and the teachers, excited about the day. I was struck by how friendly the community was and what a wonderful first school experience this would be for any child.
Mrs. Alexander’s School is located right along the water, just a few minutes walk from Downtown Beverly. The school is housed in a charming, historic, multi-family building that was converted into a school, by Founder Francis (Fran) Alexander in 1966. The school is led by Executive Director & Owner Ms. Sandra Walor and Director Nichole Garry, who started as an Art Teacher 27 years ago, and has been the Director of the school for the last 9 years. Like most of the staff at Mrs. Alexander’s, Nichole’s own children were students of the school.
There is a lot to love about Mrs. Alexander’s School. The experienced teachers have created welcoming classrooms that incorporate play and learning in the best way. For the current school year Mrs. Alexander’s is home to three classrooms of Preschoolers (ages 2.9 to 4 years old), three classrooms of Pre-K students (ages 4-5) and one Kindergarten classroom. They also have a shared Community Learning Classroom that changes themes frequently. When I was there the students were learning about Spring, including birds, backyard bugs, planting, Earth Day and more.
I had the chance to pop in to each class and observe the students working on some Spring-themed projects. Some of the classes were reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, and learning to draw caterpillars or sequencing the events of the story. Another class was learning about the land and water make-up of the planet during snack time, by placing green grapes (the land) on an ocean-covered earth (a blue-frosted rice cake). Trust me, when you mix learning with frosting the kids will be excited! The Kindergarten students were also hard at work, planting flower seeds and learning about how plants grow.
The kids all gather together in the Kindergarten Classroom to start the day with a school-wide meeting where they say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing a song and have an opportunity to share good news with one another. They also gather together for recess on the huge outdoor play area where they were excited to show me the swing, climbing dome, slide, art area, sandbox, train station and some fairy houses they had built. There was so much to do outside, it was a haven for creative play!
The school hours at Mrs. Alexander’s are 8:45-11:45am, with 3 and 5-day options (Kindergarten is 5 days/week from 8:45am-1:45pm.) They also host Lunch Bunch from 11:45am-1:45pm daily. They are still accepting students for the 2023-2024 school year, beginning in September. Learn more at www.mrsalexandersschool.com
Mrs. Alexander’s curriculum is theme-based and focuses on large and small motor skills, incorporating music, movement, dramatic play and sensory activities. Each class has no more than a 10:1 ratio of students to staff. The goal of Nichole and the team at Mrs. Alexander’s is to provide a strong start to school for both children and their families. Through school events and other opportunities for connection, many families at the school have built friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Since the school has been around for several decades, Nichole said they are seeing former students, now parents, who are sending their own children to school at Mrs. Alexander’s. When I visited they also had an intern from Beverly High School, who was a former student helping in the classroom and showing the kids some fun basketball skills on the playground.
Mrs. Alexander’s Kindergarten program is also unique and serves as a good stepping stone to a larger school environment. The curriculum emphasizes socialization and playtime, all the while preparing kids to enter First Grade. The small class size allows children to grow emotionally and academically. If that sounds like a learning environment that would benefit your child, you should definitely take a look!
Last but not least, Mrs. Alexander’s offers a Summer Program, for kids ages 2.9-Kindergarten. This program runs Monday-Friday, from 9am-12pm, during the weeks of July 10th and July 17th. The camp is staffed by Nichole, the Assistant Director & Kindergarten Teacher, Mrs. Lisa Robinson, and Preschool Teacher Mrs. Tara Harville-Fry. With their experience and creativity, the camp days are sure to be filled with learning and fun! Learn more or enroll at www.mrsalexandersschool.com/summer
This post is sponsored by Mrs. Alexander’s School, but the opinions present are my own.