We learn by doing

Children learn best when they use their natural curiosity, test out ideas, and explore in a hands-on way. Willow’s brand of experiential learning — joyful, hands-on, and relevant to children’s lives — forms the foundation for every student to realize academic excellence. From the early grades onward, students are encouraged to inquire, think critically, make connections, reflect, and effectively communicate their ideas with others. Experiential learning provides them with opportunities to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and expand their ability to solve problems in and beyond the classroom. These are skills Willow graduates will use throughout their lives.

Look into any Willow classroom and you will see students learn by doing. Kindergarteners use Montessori math manipulatives to build number sense. First graders observe the evolution from  caterpillar to butterfly to understand the life cycle. Third graders conduct an archeological dig to learn about the past.

Foundational skills gleaned from experiential learning are reinforced. strengthened, and applied to more complex hands-on research and projects in Middle School.

See How We Learn:

Authentic Experiences
Authentic Experiences

Whether it’s writing a book review to inspire their classmates or using math to track the school’s compost and come up with solutions to reduce waste, Willow students learn by creating authentic experiences that are relevant to their lives.

Hands-On Curriculum
Hands-On Curriculum

Our teachers take every opportunity to apply abstract concepts to concrete materials and experiences, from taking middle school math class outside to measuring shadows to better understand relationships between objects to collecting and analyzing snow as it melts to understand density in science and more!

Flexible Curriculum
Flexible Curriculum

Every year, our lessons look a bit different, with our student questions at the heart of every lesson. For example, when a kindergarten class became fascinated by a snake on a nature walk, lessons that day turned to answering student questions. At Willow, students learn to follow their curiosity and apply what they are learning to questions they care about.

Project-Based Learning
Project-Based Learning

A teaching method used since Willow's founding, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.

Imaginative Inquiry
Imaginative Inquiry

Willow teachers incorporate imaginative inquiry, a technique that encourages students to use their imagination to role play and solve real-world problems.

Placed-Based Education
Place-Based
Education

Willow students become curious about their surroundings on our 34-acre campus. We use our streams to learn about the local watershed, our woods and native plant growth for the study of phenology, and our LEED certified buildings for math exercises like the graphing and prediction of energy consumption. Our attention to place-based education immerses students in the unique history, environment, culture, and art of our area and region, rooting lessons in meaningful experiences relevant to our lives.

Service Learning
Service Learning

Service learning combines grade-level learning objects with community service to demonstrate to students that they can make a difference through their actions.

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Authentic Experiences

Whether it’s writing a book review to inspire their classmates or using math to track the school’s compost and come up with solutions to reduce waste, Willow students learn by creating authentic experiences that are relevant to their lives.

Hands-On Curriculum

Our teachers take every opportunity to apply abstract concepts to concrete materials and experiences, from taking middle school math class outside to measuring shadows to better understand relationships between objects to collecting and analyzing snow as it melts to understand density in science and more!

 

Flexible Curriculum

Every year, our lessons look a bit different, with our student questions at the heart of every lesson. For example, when a kindergarten class became fascinated by a snake on a nature walk, lessons that day turned to answering student questions. At Willow, students learn to follow their curiosity and apply what they are learning to questions they care about.

Project-Based Learning

A teaching method used since Willow’s founding, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.

Imaginative Inquiry

Willow teachers incorporate imaginative inquiry, a technique that encourages students to use their imagination to role play and solve real-world problems.

.

Place-Based Education

Willow students become curious about their surroundings on our 34-acre campus. We use our streams to learn about the local watershed, our woods and native plant growth for the study of phenology, and our LEED certified buildings for math exercises like the graphing and prediction of energy consumption. Our attention to place-based education immerses students in the unique history, environment, culture, and art of our area and region, rooting lessons in meaningful experiences relevant to our lives.

.

Service Learning

Service learning combines grade-level learning objects with community service to demonstrate to students that they can make a difference through their actions.

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Questions? Director of Enrollment Management Lisa VanderVeen is here to help! Contact her at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email.

More to Explore in Experiential Learning

How Do Kindergarteners Learn Best?

How Do Kindergarteners Learn Best?

Children want to grow. They are curious and driven to learn about the world around them. Your child’s first experiences at school can be a time when she first discovers how to channel that drive into a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning...or it can be a place...

Webinar: Why is Self-Directed Learning Important in Pre-K?

Webinar: Why is Self-Directed Learning Important in Pre-K?

Why is self-directed work so important for preschool students? Attend our free webinar on January 21 at 4pm led by our preschool teachers to discover why choice, independence, and carefully created activity options are so important for learning at this young age....

Request our ebook on Systems Thinking. We will email it to you immediately.

Director of Enrollment Management Lisa VanderVeen is here to help! Contact her at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email

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