Many schools talk about character. Willow practices it.

Students don’t become kind, responsible, and courageous by merely talking about character. Integrity has to be modeled and practiced, which is why Willow’s Virtues Program is embedded into everything we do. Our unique Virtues Program builds a foundation for students to act with confidence and compassion and learn to initiate change from a very young age. Willow virtues, such as respect, responsibility, gratitude, service, honesty, courage, perseverance, and joy, foster self-awareness and reinforce Willow’s commitment to living an ethical life.

Willow Gatherings are central to the Virtues: the entire community gathers twice a week to learn from one another and to reflect on the virtues. It is a time where courtesy, warmth, and safety reign, and where children experience a sense of significance. Student- and teacher-led discussions explore the deeper meanings virtues and how to practice them. School traditions like Harvest Soup and our annual Earth Day celebration also grow out of Virtues. Typically, parents are invited to join Willow Gatherings. Due to COVID precautions, we are live-streaming our Willow Gatherings on Mondays and Fridays. Watch on Facebook!

See our Virtues Program in action:

Compassion
Compassion

Second graders interview and visit with elder friends from Fellowship Village Retirement Community for the service learning project "Investigating History and Honoring Our Elders."

Responsibility
Responsibility
& Respect

Everyone has a cleanup chore after Willow’s family-style lunch, fostering responsibility and respect for others.

Temperance
Temperance

Third graders challenge the whole school to reduce waste by setting goals to produce less trash, and see how planning and effort generate results.

Gratitude
Gratitude

Students, faculty, staff, parents and friends take part in a Community Gratitude Project as part of our annual Harvest Soup tradition. A mural displays tiles created by participants.

Service
Service

Fourth graders study food insecurity, organizing a food drive that collected more than 1,200 donations and fed 30 families for Thanksgiving weekend.

Honesty
Honesty

Second graders make a “compliment sandwich:” they provide positive feedback to each other, and learn how to give honest critique in a compassionate manner.

Courage
Courage

From day one, Willow students are encouraged to take risks in their learning. Two eighth graders had the courage to write, arrange music, direct and produce an original play, along with lower school students.

Joy & Wonder
Joy & Wonder

First graders adopt monarch caterpillars and closely track their evolution in science class before releasing them in a school-wide celebration.

Prudence
Prudence

In handcrafts, Willow students make prudent choices in selecting the right tool and to operate tools safely and responsibly — ensuring their own wellbeing and that of the group.

Faithfulness
Faithfulness

A student-led civic engagement project with the Pingry School underscored Willow's faithfulness to sustainability by studying and mitigating the effects of storm water and foot traffic on our wooded campus.

Exit full screenEnter Full screen
Dummy to Close First Accordion
Compassion

Second graders interview and visit with elder friends from Fellowship Village Retirement Community for the service learning project “Investigating History and Honoring Our Elders.”

Responsibility & Respect

Everyone has a cleanup chore after Willow’s family-style lunch, fostering responsibility and respect for others.

Temperance

Third graders challenge the whole school to reduce waste by setting goals to produce less trash, and see how planning and effort generate results.

Gratitude

Students, faculty, staff, parents and friends take part in a Community Gratitude Project as part of our annual Harvest Soup tradition. A mural displays tiles created by participants.

Service

Fourth graders study food insecurity, organizing a food drive that collected more than 1,200 donations and fed 30 families for Thanksgiving weekend.

Honesty

Second graders make a “compliment sandwich:” they provide positive feedback to each other, and learn how to give honest critique in a compassionate manner.

Courage

From day one, Willow students are encouraged to take risks in their learning. Two eighth graders had the courage to write, arrange music, direct and produce an original play, along with lower school students.

Joy & Wonder

First graders adopt monarch caterpillars and closely track their evolution in science class before releasing them in a school-wide celebration.

Prudence

In handicrafts, Willow students make prudent choices in selecting the right tool and to operate tools safely and responsibly — ensuring their own wellbeing and that of the group.

Faithfulness

A student-led civic engagement project with the Pingry School underscored Willow’s faithfulness to sustainability by studying and mitigating the effects of storm water and foot traffic on our wooded campus.

Learn more about how Virtues are rooted in Willow’s curriculum and community. Contact Director of Admissions Lisa VanderVeen at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email.

More to Explore in Virtues

Willow Celebrates Black History Month

Willow Celebrates Black History Month

We are so excited to celebrate Black History Month together! Thank you to Willow parents Natalie Webb and Tiffany Crawford for organizing a wonderful month of events for our students, teachers, families, and parents. Natalie, Tiffany, and Willow's Head of School...

New Diversity & Inclusion Conversation Starters Series

New Diversity & Inclusion Conversation Starters Series

Willow's Diversity & Inclusion Committee supports our school's continued growth as an intentionally inclusive and welcoming environment for a diverse student population. Recent events involving racial discrimination have led to deeper Committee conversations...

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

Apply Fall 2022
X