Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Elementary School at Chewonki?
The Elementary School at Chewonki is an intentionally small independent school for children in grades 1-8 located in Wiscasset, Maine, on a 400-acre peninsula in the midcoast region.
After more than 100 years of educating children and young adults, Chewonki is known nationally for providing transformational learning in nature. This place-based elementary school program models the best of innovative, integrated academic and experiential learning.
Our teaching incorporates an understanding of childhood development to ensure social, emotional, and intellectual growth and is designed to reflect the best current research and practices for high-impact teaching and learning.
The interdisciplinary curriculum begins with science, social studies, and outdoor exploration, and aligns math, literacy, arts, language, music, and life skills. Students spend time in a beautiful classroom working on core academics and then transition to active learning outside on Chewonki property, no matter the season or weather.
We work to instill a love for learning that will lay a solid foundation to support success in high school, college, and beyond, thanks to the excellent teachers, supportive learning community, standards-relevant curriculum, 21st-century skills development, and an array of meaningful place-based learning experiences.
Q. What is the class size?
Each classroom has a maximum of 12 students, providing a teacher-student ratio of 1:6 or better. This small size allows for flexibility as an expeditionary group, safe management of risk, and the ability to create a supportive and productive learning community.
Q. What grades do you offer?
We currently accept students in grades 1-8.
Q. How many students will you accept for the 2019-20 school year?
We have spaces available for grades 1-6 with a waiting list for grades 7-8, with a goal of 12 students per multi-grade classroom.
Q. What is the timing of the school day?
The school day runs from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Currently, we offer a half hour of early care before the school day begins and an hour of aftercare starting at 3:00 p.m.
Q. What is the tuition?
Tuition for grades 1-4 for the 2019-20 school year is $10,120; tuition for grades 5-8 for the 2019-20 school year will be $13,720.
Q. Is financial aid available?
We have limited financial aid funds which are distributed based on demonstrated need. Families intending to apply for financial aid must complete the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) at sssbynais.org/parents.
Q. What is the admissions process?
Start by visiting our campus during an open house to learn more about the Elementary School at Chewonki. This is an opportunity to observe classes, meet the teachers, and see the resources that Chewonki has to offer students. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire or schedule a visit.
Q. How do we apply?
Applications will be reviewed on a space-available basis, once we have received a complete application and after the student has completed their school day visit. Contact the admissions office to determine available space in each grade. The application form is available here.
Q. Can my child visit during the school day?
The open houses are the best way to see the classroom, meet staff and students, and tour campus. If you are unable to make a planned date, we would be happy to show you around at a mutually convenient time. After application materials are complete, your child and family will be asked to visit during a school day as part of the admissions process.
Q. Who can apply?
Any motivated student who is academically and socially ready to enter grades 1-8 can apply to the Elementary School at Chewonki.
The active and diverse nature of the school day requires that a student be comfortable, attentive, and engaged in both a classroom and an outdoor setting. Students with learning challenges or diagnosed disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or who have a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) may request that we provide reasonable accommodations. The decision to permit or deny requested accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis with school administration, the lead teacher, and the Chewonki supervising nurse. See the Admissions Criteria and Student Expectations document for further information.
Q. In addition to tuition, what other expenses can we anticipate?
Materials for the classroom (including books, art supplies, etc.) are included in the cost of tuition. Families should expect additional costs from the following:
- Supplying a nutritious, protein-rich lunch and snack daily
- Providing sturdy, warm, waterproof outdoor gear for any season (see Gear List for details)
- Cross-country skis, poles, boots (available inexpensively at ski swaps or for lease at Midcoast Conservancy)
- Before-school care and/or after-school care costs ($10 per use; discounted 25% if paid ahead by trimester).