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13 Schools, Camps, and Programs That Could Be the Perfect Fit for Your Family

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

Securing the best education for your child is one of the most important parental tasks, but it doesn’t have to be the most difficult. The Greater Boston area boasts a long list of independent schools, offering challenging and enriching courses, extracurricular activities, summer camps, and programs for preschoolers through high school seniors. Choose the right school, camp, or program from the list below and watch your children flourish both socially and academically.

Bay Farm Montessori Academy in Duxbury provides students with the excitement of hands-on learning and small class sizes on a nine-acre tranquil campus. Bay Farm’s highly trained Montessori teachers support each student’s individual learning path and the school’s programs equip students with the confidence to challenge themselves and try new things. Attracting students ages 12 months to grade 8, Bay Farm integrates its challenging academic curriculum with drama, music, and the fine arts.

Located in the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Camp Birch Hill is a classic New England summer camp for boys and girls ages 6 through 16. Family owned and operated, Camp Birch Hill welcomes campers each summer to their 100-plus acres of private, lakeside grounds for a genuine camp experience. The elective program allows campers to choose from more than 50 diverse activities to create a personalized schedule during their two-, four-, or six-week stay. Camp Birch Hill is globally recognized, welcoming campers and staff from all over the world. Voted in the top five New Hampshire summer camps by Boston Parents Paper three years in a row, Camp Birch Hill allows campers to enjoy their summer participating in activities they already love and discovering new interests!

Celebrating more than 40 years of educating students, Cape Cod Academy is an independent day school for kindergarten through grade 12, situated on 46 acres in the heart of the Cape. Across the three school divisions, they encourage curiosity, leadership, and academic rigor. The curriculum is not driven by standardized testing, and the classes enable students to develop skills that are imperative for future success, including critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, and collaboration. The classrooms are led by top-flight faculty who develop new teaching approaches based on the best research and their own experience. They take pride in the fact that 100 percent of graduates attend their select colleges.

The Chestnut Hill School is an independent, coeducational elementary school comprised of a preschool (starting at age 3), an all-day kindergarten, and grades 1 through 6. CHS has maintained its legacy of preparing intellectually skilled, confident leaders since its founding in 1860. The curriculum focuses on encouraging the inherent curiosity of children, inspiring critical thinking, problem-solving, and a genuine love of learning. The educational philosophy emanates from a mission of academic excellence, diversity, and community. The faculty, staff, and students come from more than 30 communities in the Greater Boston area. The school strives to acknowledge differences in backgrounds while celebrating commitments to equity and social justice. Dedicated and talented teachers create an environment that provides a balanced approach to learning, supports the whole child, and is rooted in sound elementary education developmental practice. A host of music, afterschool, and summer programs enrich the extracurricular offerings.

Recognized as one of Boston’s premier independent schools, Commonwealth School is a coeducational day program dedicated to adventurous, intellectual, and artistic exploration for grades 9 to 12. With unparalleled access to the city’s resources, Commonwealth fosters scholarly research, independent projects, and community service. Its college-level classes and electives are rooted in deep analysis, inquiry, and writing. In Commonwealth’s compact, dynamic community, students are uniquely positioned to discover their passions and thrive.

Founded in 1967, Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge is a pre-K to grade 8 school with an emphasis on progressive education. The school strives to help students connect with their own curiosity and find joy in the learning process. The vibrant classrooms are filled with passionate teachers and engaged learners. They offer an anti-bias curriculum with a focus on social responsibility. They have a diverse student population, plus a co-teacher model with mixed-age classrooms. The offerings include Spanish, music, art, woodshop, library, and physical education. 

iD Tech is the world leader in summer STEM education, with more than 400,000 alumni since 1999, 150 prestigious campuses in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and programs for ages 7 to 19 held on the MIT campus, and at Bentley, Stanford, and others. Students build in-demand skills for futures in coding, game development, robotics, and design, and learn in guaranteed small classes (a 10-student maximum per instructor). In addition to the flagship program—iD Tech Camps for ages 7 to 17—iD Tech also offers all-girls camps, teen-only academies, an advanced capstone program, and year-round online private lessons.

An independent, co-educational school on Boston’s South Shore, Inly School inspires students to be creative thinkers and self-motivated, lifelong learners. Inly’s innovative blend of Montessori curriculum, academic rigor, and experiential learning provides a highly individualized education for toddlers through middle school. Nurturing teachers foster each student’s natural curiosity and inclination to learn and empower them to identify and solve complex problems. In keeping with Inly’s innovative programming, “Summer at Inly” features coding and STEAM camps, a circus arts experience, plus nature, art, and theater programs for all ages.

There’s nothing like summers with Maine Camp Experience. These 30-plus premier overnight camps located throughout Maine provide natural beauty, strong traditions and values, and top-notch activities, instruction, and trips. Kids ages 7 to 17 unplug from their tech devices, connect with nature, make lifelong friends, learn new skills, and gain confidence and independence. The campers enjoy lake and land sports, arts, outdoor adventures, and fun camp traditions. Sessions are from one to eight weeks. Contact Laurie the Campcierge™ who provides free, personalized guidance to help families select the best camp at [email protected].

What’s the value of a great education? How about a lifelong eagerness to challenge the intellect. A spirit that’s never satisfied with “good enough.” The drive to move the world. The Meadowbrook School is a coeducational independent day school in Weston that inspires and challenges learners in junior kindergarten through grade 8. The talented teachers engage students in an advanced curriculum from the beginning, building deep personal connections to spark the potential of each child. From leading-edge math to middle school programs, they welcome expectations—then take them higher.

SolBe is an early learning center that reimagines traditional notions of nursery school, child care, and preschool. The name defines the purpose: “sol,” from the Spanish word meaning sun, and the English word “be,” creating the meaning “to be full of light.” Learning is not the filling of a cup, but the lighting of a fire. SolBe aims to create the highest quality early learning experiences through a seed-to-table nutrition program, thoughtfully designed facilities, specially trained educators, and a school culture influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach integrated with Spanish immersion. The dynamic program continually adapts and improves as they nurture healthy, engaged lives.

“I started the Teddy Bear Club in 1993 because I saw a need to combine the best elements of American preschool programs with some of the wonderful aspects of the French education I received growing up in Paris,” says Teddy Bear Club’s founder, Laura d’Angosse Perlman. “I highly value the focus American preschools place on the development of social skills, creativity, and self-confidence, but I also recognized the potential to further emphasize the more academically focused approach that typifies European education. Additionally, there is a tremendous opportunity to introduce foreign languages to children while they are still at an age when language acquisition occurs completely naturally. TBC was born out of this desire to layer a well-rounded academic curriculum over a socially focused preschool experience in a bilingual French-English environment. Twenty-six years later, our program continues to instill confidence and inspire a lifelong love of learning in our students while building a solid foundation for their future academic success in primary school and beyond.”

At UMass Lowell Francis College of Engineering, students in the Future Engineers High School Summer Camps will have a chance to live on campus for a week and discover the world of engineering through hands-on projects and interactions with students, faculty, staff, and alumni. While working in one of the many labs, they will be exposed to the theory and process behind design and production. In addition, the DifferenceMaker entrepreneurship team will work with the students to develop a business pitch for their proposed product. Sessions are as follows: Explore Engineering runs July 7 to 12 and Exploring Engineering (Girls Only) runs from July 14 to 19, 2019. The cost per week is $1,200.

Photo credit: Kimberly Farmer

For a complete list of schools and contact information, check out our resource directory below. Pick up the print edition of this special section in the March 2019 issue.

Bay Farm Montessori Academy
145 Loring Street, Duxbury

Camp Birch Hill
33C Birch Hill Road, New Durham, NH

Cape Cod Academy
50 Osterville-West Barnstable Road, Osterville

The Chestnut Hill School
428 Hammond Street, Chestnut Hill

Commonwealth School
151 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Fayerweather Street School
765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge

iD Tech

Inly School
46 Watch Hill Drive, Scituate

Maine Camp Experience
[email protected]

Meadowbrook School
10 Farm Road, Weston

631 VFW Parkway, Chestnut Hill

Teddy Bear Club
1466 Commonwealth Avenue, West Newton
239 Concord Road, Lincoln
[email protected]

UMass Lowell Francis College of Engineering
[email protected]