These traditions shape learning at Willow, reinforce our Virtues Program, and bolster community spirit.
Dummy to Close First Accordion
Imagine an all-school gathering where every student is present, centered, and engaged. Think how your child might thrive in a school that starts its day in a reflective environment where courtesy and respect reign and children experience a sense of significance and belonging. Morning Gathering brings all of these elements together in a tradition that holds deep significance to members of the Willow community.
Morning Gathering is held twice a week with the entire school and four times a week with the Lower School. The student- and teacher-led presentations support the Virtues Program by exploring the deeper meaning of the virtue of the month. This sets the tone for respectful learning, helps students develop their communication skills and confidence, and establishes a climate of trust.
Harvest Soup is a community-wide tradition that engages students and parents in the practice of curiosity, responsibility, and gratitude. It starts each spring when students plant seedlings that are later harvested with the help of parent volunteers in the fall. In November, parents are invited to join their children in hands-on activities such as bread-baking, butter-making and salad-chopping. Students also engage in a gratitude project, sharing what they are thankful for with the Willow community.
All of these activities culminate in Harvest Soup Day. With coordination and assistance from Parent Association volunteers, everyone helps turn the produce harvested from our gardens into a marvelous soup and salad that is shared by the entire community in a meaningful celebration of gratitude before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Harvest Soup is a beloved tradition of students, and many alumni return for the celebration each year.
Each year, the entire Willow learning community honors Earth Day with a meaningful environmental service project. Each class undertakes a significant project, which in recent years has included the removal of invasive species and revitalization of natural plants on campus. Off campus, Willow classes have partnered with community organizations like the Fox Hill Preserve to plant trees and with the Raritan Headwaters Association to better understand stewardship and protection of the watershed.
Earth Day concludes outdoors with an all-school gathering of reflections, songs, and the traditional Sword Dance by Middle School students.
Winter & Spring Arts Celebrations
The Willow community gathers twice a year to showcase the progress and talents students achieve in our robust music and arts programs. The Winter and Spring Arts Evenings are a school-wide celebration, featuring the work of all Willow students in art, handcrafts and architecture classes. Students also put on two concerts, one for Lower School students and another for Middle School.
Everyone in the Willow community looks forward to the Talent Show. Open to all students, the annual production is 100% organized and directed by Middle School students. They take the lead, from holding auditions to stage managing every aspect of the production and even promoting it to the school community.
Audience members are always surprised and delighted by the range of performances (instrumental, song, original skits, dance, magic and more). For Middle School students, it’s an opportunity to perform and build leadership skills. Lower School students look forward to the day they can take charge of the Talent Show.
Grandparents & Friends Day
Grandparents and grand-friends are invited to visit Willow on a designated day each year. The tradition includes breakfast, visits to classrooms, musical performances, and other activities that provide grandparents the opportunity to experience Willow.
Graduation (Currently hidden)
Do you think we should add a section about what makes Graduation at Willow different? The kids’ speeches, the dinner honoring each child individually, etc?