Experience Weeks

About Experience Weeks

Hands-on learning is an essential element of a Montessori education. That’s why we’ve created Experience Weeks as a time and place for students to research questions, think critically, communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and master core academic content.

By moving beyond the walls of the classroom to local institutions and landscapes of the North Shore students gain new, more in-depth ways to investigate, understand and learn.

Two of the six week sessions are included in each 1st-8th grade student’s tuition. Students may certainly register for additional weeks.

Experience Weeks are located at and travel from the Harborlight campus. We are pleased to have partnered with several community partners to enhance the students’ learning experience. Experience Weeks are for students in grades 1 to 9 who want to stretch themselves.


The six, five-day weeks coincide with both public and independent school calendars for 2022. 

Week 1:
February 21st through February 25th
Week 2:
March 7th through March 11th
Week 3:
March 14th through March 18th
Week 4:
April 18th through April 22nd
Week 5:
June 20th through June 24th
Week 6:
June 27th through July 1st

Learning Through Experience Weeks

Experience Weeks engage students and develop Four Deep Learning Skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity. The structure of these courses reflect a Montessori model of student-centered, interactive instruction that explores a particular course or topic in a 5- step cycle of learning that creates habits for future learning in college & career.

List of 5 items.

  • Interaction & Inquiry

    Students develop and ask questions about their experience as they learn new course content and use material and observation for – research methods, exploration of environment, or reinterpret an existing experience at a deeper level.
  • Reflective Observation

    Students receive non-evaluative feedback from teachers and experts in the field to summarize new information in an organized way. The experience and hands-on learning and of asking questions frames their thinking as they interpret and seek answers.
  • Conceptualization

    Students engage in project-based learning to expand their understanding of new concepts. They learn through collaboration and planning their activities.
  • Application

    Students apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to the world around them. Taking the notes, sketches, and observations from their journal as a guide.
  • Assessment

    Students are evaluated at the end of their coursework. They are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills both effectively and creatively.

Experience Weeks 2022 Courses & Registrations

List of 10 items.

  • Winter Wonders: The Science of the Season

    Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade) 
    Monday, February 21, 2022 through Friday, February 25, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

    Winter, the coldest season of the year, kicks-off our Going Out Experience Weeks annually. Plunging temperatures and icy weather bring many changes all around campus and in our neighboring forests, oceans, and farms. Some animals migrate, while others seek other habitats because of changes in their food supply, and some hibernate.  Students, educators, and naturalists explore together the science and nature of winter including hibernation, migration, adaptation and more. Our campus and neighboring habitats provide venues for field observation and nature study. The week will culminate in an art and science presentation.


  • Montessori Erdkinder with Appleton Farms

    Upper School (4th-8th grade)
    Monday, February 21, 2022 through Friday, February 25, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM
    Erdkinder translates to "children of the earth". Dr. Montessori used this term to describe the value of 'schooling' on a working farm. Working together with the educators at Appleton Farms, Harborlight students will learn the history of the oldest, continuously operation farm in the United States. On campus they will focus on STEAM experiences that reinforce the activities enjoyed while visiting the farm. At Appleton, students will be learning about the life and work on the farm, the importance of natural spaces, and the quiet beauty of the world in winter while also engaging in activities that are naturally "Farm-to-Fork": baking bread, churning butter, making 'quick' pickles, foraging for pine needles to make tea, and tapping the sugar maples. Each student will synthesize their week-long learning through a creative project of their choice. On Friday evening, students and their families are invited to Appleton's Carriage Barn for the student project showcase. This curriculum aims to empower students to protect the environment, eat well, and to advocate for sustainable farming practices. Dr. Montessori's Erdkinder intention was to provide a balance of manual and intellectual work, leaving students prepared to take an active role in society.

  • Ancient Civilizations: Greece, Egypt, China

    Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade)
    Monday, March 7, 2022 through Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM
    In Montessori, the study of Ancient Civilizations is the story of how humans throughout history have fulfilled their fundamental needs physically, socially, and spiritually. During these two weeks, students will be assigned one ancient civilization to study (Greece, Egypt, or China) and learn about the fundamental needs of humans and connect this learning with all areas of classroom curriculum: mathematics, language, biology, geography, art, and more. Their research will include a focus on daily living, education, entertainment, economy, and government. Students will create their own 'artifacts' and other visual and performance art projects to complement this research. These two weeks culminate in in the creation and curation of a "museum" to showcase their learning process. The primary learning in this Ancient Civilizations immersive experience is to understand that all people, from the very first human beings right up to us, have had the same fundamental needs. Students come to comprehend the unity of human existence and see the commonality of all peoples. In addition, we understand that this immersive research and study also creates a roadmap for the process of studying any topic of interest in the future!

  • Theatre Intensive with Gloucester Stage

    Upper School (4th-8th grade)
    Monday, March 7, 2022 through Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM
    This two-week collaboration between Gloucester Stage Company and Harborlight Montessori provides an intensive experience in theatre production, on stage and backstage, for students in grades 4-8. In addition to acting, students participate in all aspects of theatre, including box office management, lighting and set design, costumes, and props. Students will participate in a full-scale original production as the culmination of their experience.

    Harborlight Students (includes travel between Harborlight campus and Gloucester Stage)
    March 7-11 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    March 14-17 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    March 18 9:00 am – Performance time
    Performances: Weekend of March 18

    Community Students (arrive at GSC and pick-up at GSC)
    March 7-11 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
    March 14-17 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
    March 18 9:00 am – Performance time
    Performances: Weekend of March 18

  • Author's Corner: Write, Illustrate, Publish

    Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade)
    Monday, April 18, 2022 through Friday, April 22, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM
    During this week, young authors will study the work of local authors and illustrators and learn what inspires their craft. They will immerse themselves in writing in their genre of choice: personal narrative, poetry collection, instruction manual, or fiction/storytelling; editing and revising; illustrating or book cover design; peer review; and finally publishing and marketing (think book signing!) their very own books. The week will include visits to local bookstores, libraries, special guests, and possibly a publishing house and will culminate in an author's corner in the Harborlight library for friends and family. Through this week-long immersive experience in literature, students discover they can write clearly and skillfully and joyfully read and connect to the writing of their peers.  In the words of Lucy Caulkins "through this they learn to live together as caring, thoughtful readers and writers".


  • The Art of Film Production with FC Academy

    Upper School (4th-8th grade)
    Monday, April 18, 2022 through Friday, April 22, 2022
    Two Experiences Available: Morning 9:00-12:00 and Afternoon 1:00-4:00
    This one-week collaboration between FC Academy Filmmaking (the creators of the Boston International Kids Film Festival) and Harborlight Montessori provides two distinct and intensive experiences in filmmaking and stop-motion animation for students in grades 4-8. 
    Stop-Motion Animation Only 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    This one-week course provides an intensive experience in stop-motion animation. Stop-motion is an animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion or change when the series of frames is played back. Students will learn the principles of animation and produce a short film using objects found around the house and brought to class. The week will culminate in a presentation of their work for family and friends. *This course requires a touch screen device with access to the free app Stop Motion Studio (available for iPods, iPhones, iPads, Androids, etc).

    Filmmaking Only 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    This one-week course provides an intensive experience in filmmaking. Students will work collaboratively to bring creativity to life in a fun, and exciting learning environment. Students will learn scriptwriting, storyboard sketching, improvisation, and camera skills. Together they will write, shoot, and edit a film in a genre of their choosing and edit their project together using the professional editing software Adobe Premiere. The week will culminate in a presentation of their work for family and friends.
    When registering for the full-day, please be certain to complete the registration for EACH session: Morning (Stop-Motion) AND Afternoon (Filmmaking). Spaces are limited. 
  • Signs of Summer

    Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade) 
    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 through Friday, June 24, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

    During this week, students will explore our campus, coastlines, and neighboring habitats for signs of summer (officially June 21st!). Students will spend the week using their five senses to observe and record the changing of the seasons in places such as the woods, tide pools, and local gardens. At the end of the week, each one of them will find a medium to tell their story of summer in New England. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the seam drink in the wild air." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Museum School

    Upper School (4th -8th grade) 
    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 through Friday, June 24, 2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

    Did you know that Massachusetts has 228 museums? During this week, students will visit a different museum each day to explores themes in art, history, and science. Harborlight will equip each student with a sketchbook/observation journal for taking notes and drawing. They will explore exhibits and galleries, roam the grounds and halls, think critically, examine purposefully and be immersed in culture. They will also complete scavenger hunts in Boston that highlight parks and works of art and also The Story of America. The notes they take, memories they record, and images they sketch will serve as a visual diary of their studies.

  • Geocaching

    Lower Elementary (1st-3rd)
    Monday, June 27, 2022 through Friday July, 1, 2022, 7:30 AM- 5:30 PM

    Geocaching is a fun recreational activity for all ages. Students will go on real-world treasure hunts in their outdoor adventures this week. Geocaching is a fun recreational activity for all ages, it is a game of following GPS coordinates to 'hide' our own geocache objects and seek geocache objects already hidden by other players in our geocaching global community. This week's lessons will build upon Harborlight's Botany, Zoology, Geography and Environmental Stewardship curriculums. It will challenge students to apply mathematics (measurement, estimation, graphing, and Geometry) to their field experiences in nature.

  • Main Streets and Back Roads

    Upper School (4th-8th grade)
    Monday, June 27,2022 through Friday, July 1,2022, 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

    Much like Chronicle's Main Streets and Back Roads, students will explore gardens, footpaths, statues, parks, trails, waterfronts, and more of our neighboring cities and town. Students will visit Gloucester, Salem, and Newburyport to explore tourist attractions, off-the-beaten-path destinations, notable architecture, and the hidden 'quirky-corners' of these communities. While on campus they will design a destination brochure for an imaginary  city or town of their own that is inspired by their favorite sights, sounds, and flavors from the week's adventures.


Popular Past Course Descriptions

List of 10 items.

  • Inland Explorers: Journey of Learning through Marsh & Meadow (Grades 1-3)

    The Japanese Paper Theater Story of the Sunflower inspires observation at the inland marsh and meadow. Lark Learning STEM staff guide the use scientific methods to test and make predictions and design an inland habitat for the Meadow Lark and follow interaction between various animal species. Use scientific methods to test and make predictions and design an inland habitat for the Meadow Lark and follow interaction between various animal species. Design a favorite creature and discover movement through synchronization experiments, and explore hands-on artistic 3D modeling concepts.
  • Coastal Creatures: Create 3D Prints with BlocksCAD! (Grades 4 - 8)

    Design and 3D print through coding with the BlocksCAD 3D modeling program, while studying the coastal ecosystem of Magellanic Penguins with the staff of Lark Learning STEM. Beginning with the Japanese Paper Theater Story of the Penguin nesting in South America, and observation of migration, seasonal habitats and life cycles of coastal creatures, employ the basics of design, coding logic and movement, and engineer solutions to support the penguin ecosystem as a final project.
  • Ancient Civilizations: Uncovering Greece and Egypt (Grades 1 - 3)

    Explore Ancient Greece or Egypt (choice based upon individual interests and/or past learning experiences). Explore and research ancient civilizations including- daily life, education, entertainment, economy and government. Create “artifacts” and other visual and performance art projects to complement this research. This Experience Week study will culminate in the creation of a “museum” showcasing projects and presentations.
  • Intensive Theatre Production: Harborlight Players (Grades 4 - 8)

    We return to Gloucester Stage Company (GSC) for an intensive two-week experience in theatre production, onstage and backstage. In addition to acting, students will participate in all aspects of production, including lighting and set design, costumes and props, rehearsing and performing. Actors, assistant directors, stage managers, designers, and marketing and sales are all part of what it takes to stage an original production, which is what the students will do on the GSC stage as the culmination of their theatre experience.

    Productions will take place on 3/20 at 7:00pm and 3/21 at 2:00pm.
  • Exploring Instrumental Music: Music Through Mentoring (Grades 1 - 3)

    Join the professional musicians of Harborlight’s music program for a week of solo and group music-making. Students currently taking instrumental lessons explore different styles of ensemble music and develop their technical and note reading skills. Those with little-to-no instrumental experience interact with a variety of instruments (piano, guitar, recorders, and percussion), to learn the basics of instrument playing and note reading, and small-group ensemble work. The week will culminate with a final performance.
  • Revolutionaries in the Art World: From Research to Practice (Grades 4 - 9)

    Learn about artists who made a huge difference to international culture. Using the Peabody Essex and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museums as our classrooms, we will explore the context – the art, time period and the social structures – in place at the time that these artists worked. Students will apply their studies and observations to hands-on art projects building off of the work they have studied.
  • The Earth Science of Geology: Exploration, Experimentation & Inspiration (Grades 1 - 3)

    Study geology through small group work, experiments, research, art, music and games. Field study will take place at Halibut Point State Park and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Points of reference will include- rock formation study and specimen collection and classification. Mineral sketch books, rock painting and collage will allow students to discover rocks as an art medium and inspiration. Research and study of the economic impact of the granite industry on the North Shore will round out this interdisciplinary course.
  • At the Water’s Edge: Eco-Poetics, Eco-Art and Coastal Ecology (Grades 4 - 8)

    Join Salem Sound Coastwatch for a series of interactive field trips designed to immerse students in the study of coastal ecology. We will plant eelgrass, conduct water testing and engage in a variety of stewardship activities to improve the health of the coastal ecosystem. Students will be challenged to express their observations and awareness through poetry and art. This course aims to inspire caring and respect for the environment, stimulate dialogue and encourage children to think about the long-term sustainability of their environment.
  • The World Around Us: Embracing the North Shore (Grades 1 - 3)

    Take an in-depth look at our North Shore world, with its rich natural, cultural and human resources. Explore what makes the North Shore unique through a study of local biomes. This course will feature journaling, observation and reflection, and producing original art expressions. Bring a heightened awareness and perspective to the world we live in every day – gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of everything around us and a stronger sense of our place in the world.
  • Mapping our Backyard: The Art and Science of Topography (Grades 4 - 8)

    Study a variety of maps (physical, political, topographic, climate) and learn how they are used to display information about the world around us. Working on campus and around the North Shore, students will orientate themselves to the area and create a variety of maps as a group and individually. A culminating project will be creating topographical maps, learning to represent contour and other topographical features using different colors, shaded relief, and color gradients, employing the knowledge and experience they have gained throughout the week.

Request Information

For more information about Harborlight Montessori and our infant/toddler, preschool, elementary, or middle school programs, please make an appointment to visit our Beverly, MA campus. You can contact us here.
  • Click Here to Download Harborlight Financial Assistance Form
    Harborlight provides a limited number of need-based partial scholarships for Experience Weeks and Summer programs that are open to greater-Beverly students, grade 1-8, who do not attend Harborlight during the academic year. The process to apply is simple. Please complete this application and return it to the Admission Office at Harborlight with the required documents attached. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Not all programs offered can be
    discounted, please check for eligibility.

About Harborlight

Harborlight Montessori is an independent, co-educational, day school for children from infant-toddler through grade 8 that is committed to innovative teaching and learning.