Welcome to Breakwater, a unique independent day school located in Portland, Maine. People frequently ask about the origin of Breakwater’s name, and it's a story I never tire of telling because it so perfectly illustrates our School's philosophy and reason for being.  Our founder, Eleanor Costa, envisioned that just as a breakwater provides a safe harbor for ships until they are ready for the open sea, a school should provide the same comfort and security for children while they gain the competence and confidence they need to navigate the rest of their lives. This “safe harbor” metaphor is at the heart of our mission and guides everything we do to put it into action. Click here to read The Breakwater Story.

Breakwater is often described as a magical place, where students are nurtured as individuals, challenged academically, and inspired to love learning. And while it does seem magical to find our children smiling at the end of a long school day, there is a method to the magic.

At Breakwater we focus on building skills and instilling concepts that help kids “learn how to learn." Working in multigrade-level, interdisciplinary teams, our teachers employ an instructional model that engages students in inquiry-based, collaborative learning. We have honed our curriculum to emphasize the most important skills, concepts, and content for students to learn in each discipline at each grade level.

Our child-centered philosophy, small school setting, and ideal class sizes foster close relationships between students and teachers who know and care deeply for them and are trained to understand the unique academic and emotional needs of students wherever they are on the developmental continuum. We deliver a carefully balanced academic and social curriculum, encouraging students to take increasing ownership of their learning as they progress through the program.

One of our proudest features is a well-established school model that fosters a powerful home-school connection and a strong sense of community. Our community has evolved and flourished since the school’s inception, and we are committed to providing a safe harbor for students as we explore best practices for instruction and reflect on what is most important for children to know and do.

I invite you to explore our website, and I encourage you to visit our campus soon to see our programs in action and experience the magic of Breakwater firsthand.


David Sullivan
Head of School