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5 Things to Help You Prepare for the First Day of School

By Home News, Better Together Blog

5 Things to Help You Prepare for the

First Day of School

1. Review Our Quick Reference Guides

One of the first things you’ll need to begin preparing for your year at Portsmouth Christian Academy is to read through our school-specific Quick Reference Guides. These guides are usually about 15 pages long, but are chocked full of helpful information about the upcoming school year, including Arrival and Dismissal procedures, lunch sign-ups, and the yearly calendar.

Take a look at this year’s Quick Reference Guides here:


Lower School and Middle School

Upper School

2. Take a Look at the Dress Code

At Portsmouth Christian Academy, we believe that a student’s individuality is more properly expressed by what he or she does and believes than by what he or she wears. Therefore, our dress code, across the school, is meant to promote neat and modest fashion that encourages our students to focus their attention on their pursuit of meaningful skills and experiences in and outside the classroom as opposed to the latest fashions. can be found on Page 10 of the Upper School Quick Reference Guide

You can find the dress codes for our Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools here:

Lower and Middle School

Upper School Dress Code can be found on Page 10 of the Upper School Quick Reference Guide.

3. Stock up on School Supplies

Each class your child takes at Portsmouth Christian Academy requires a different set of supplies. Some are subject-specific like rulers or instruments. Others are more broad, like notebooks, pencils, and crayons. We want to make sure your child is fully equipped to learn, create, problem solve, and explore as a student here at Portsmouth Christian Academy.

You can find the Supply Lists for our Preschool, Lower, Middle, and Upper School here:


Lower/Middle School

Upper School

4. Review our Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

The first day of school is full of tangible energy—and lots of cars! Once you’ve experienced the Arrival and Dismissal lines once, you’ll be dropping off and picking up your kids like a pro! Before you drop your student off (prior to 8:10am), take a look at the route you’ll take to drop off your PCA student(s).

You can find the explainer video for our Arrival and Dismissal procedures below.

5. Ask Us Anything You Need!

We welcome at least 130 new students to our community every year. That’s over 80 new families figuring out everything mentioned in this article—and we’re here to help you at every step of the way!

If you have any questions about what to expect in your upcoming school year, please reach out to our administrative team to get all your questions answered! The contact information for your child’s school level is laid out below.


Harlee Tuttle, Preschool Director |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Lower School:

Carrie Abood, Lower School Principal |

Daphne Corso, Assistant Lower School Principal |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Middle School:

Lois Blatchley, Middle School Principal |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Upper School:

Jordan Heckelmann, Upper School Principal |

Amy St. John, Upper School Administrative Assistant |

Stephen Foley, Dean of Men |

Rebekah Shoemaker, Dean of Women |

3 Ways Self-Confidence is Developed in Kindergarten

By Better Together Blog

3 Ways Self-Confidence is Developed in Kindergarten

If there is one universal predictor of success in school, it is confidence. When a child is confident and has high self-esteem, they are more likely to thrive in the classroom and beyond. That’s why kindergarten is the prime time for confidence building. During this initial year of your child’s academic journey, they will have numerous opportunities to become more competent and confident learners. Their environment, as well as the teachers and role models they spend time with each day, will have a powerful impact on their brain development, character building, and overall self-esteem.

Here are three ways we develop confidence in our kindergartners at Portsmouth Christian Academy:

Encouraging Independence

confident kindergartener

Every child feels empowered the first time they learn to do something without assistance. Whether it is tying a shoe, sounding out a word, or preparing their own snack, students beam as they express, “I can do this all by myself!” In order for children to successfully reach these milestones (and more challenging ones)  they need to develop a growth mindset. We teach them that every mistake is a chance for growth so that they can view their mistakes as opportunities, not as failures. This has a powerful, lifelong effect on a child’s brain and equips them with the confidence to persist trying, even when something is difficult. 

Providing One-on-One Attention

Every child is unique and has different learning styles and needs. At PCA, we keep our class sizes small so that teachers can get to know their students well and offer differentiated instruction on a regular basis. When students know that a teacher is focused solely on them, they often feel more empowered to do their best work. Our teachers also recognize the value of praise. They not only praise victories; they understand that praising effort is vital for boosting a kindergartner’s confidence and motivation. When a child feels seen for working hard, persevering, and doing their best, they become more confident and capable of achieving their goals.

Nurturing Problem Solving Skills

Kindergartners have countless opportunities to become effective problem solvers and hone their decision-making skills. This not only applies to academic learning, but social, emotional, and spiritual development as well. At PCA, hands-on activities allow students to become active problem solvers, whether they are learning to add and subtract with math manipulatives or conducting a science experiment. Working in groups, they get to navigate social skills such as taking turns, being flexible and open to others’ ideas, and asking for help. These experiential learning opportunities allow children to feel like they are in the driver’s seat of their own learning, which enhances their confidence. 

Discover more about PCA’s private kindergarten in Dover, New Hampshire.

Download our kindergarten packet and discover all the ways your child can develop confidence and competence in kindergarten.

Family-friendly Summertime Fun 2022

By Better Together Blog

Family-friendly Summertime Fun 2022

As the 2022 school year is quickly coming to a close, the beautiful New England summer is inching its way in. We know that our community stems from over 50 towns, and some have recently moved to the area. Each year we like to provide our PCA families with resources for local summertime events and activities that span all age groups and include the entire family.

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Building a Healthy Community Through Physical Education

By Better Together Blog, Uncategorized

Building a Healthy Community Through Physical Education

by Abigail Monahan & Kendra Leavitt

By understanding how to care for oneself and care for others, children become outward thinkers, feelers, and doers, while also recognizing their own needs and callings. But what is proper care? Why is it important to our everyday lives? At Portsmouth Christian Academy, we use our Physical Education (P.E.) program as an opportunity to project the significance of physical care, in congruency with spiritual, mental, and social care. I spoke with PCA’s Physical Education Teacher, Abigail Monahan to gain valuable insight on the importance of this topic.

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We’re All Giving What We Can: A Reflection on the Auction

By Home News, Better Together Blog, PCA News Stories

Written by Nathan Paul

For those who don’t know me, my name is Nathan Paul, but most of the time I’m just “Nate.” If you’ve haven’t seen me running around at arrival or dismissal with a camera, or at a PCA athletic contest with a camera, or at a concert with a camera, or pretty much anywhere on campus with a camera, you’ve probably seen what’s on the other side of the lens: the pictures, the videos, and the projects I actually get paid to shoot with Dr. Abood. I tell people all the time that I have my dream job, and I got it before I even graduated from college.

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5 Ways PCA is Rethinking the Traditional High School Experience

By Better Together Blog

5 Ways PCA is Rethinking the Traditional High School Experience

The four-year journey of high school is one of challenge, reward, and growth. It’s common for students to hurry it along with eagerness to graduate. Yet, what occurs in those years is foundational to what follows: choices about faith, relationships, career, and so much more.  

We want students to cherish their high school experience and recognize the value in it, while they are in it. Here are five ways in which Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) has created a distinguished high school atmosphere right here in Dover, New Hampshire: 

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