The incredible growth and changes that happen between a student's entrance into school and her graduation from Grade 6 is a wonder. We're lucky to be able to be part of it.
WillowWood’s Foundation Program includes Kindergarten, grade 1 and 2 students, and is an intensively individualized early learning program. The program is Language and Math intensive, with Science and Social Studies integrated into Language. Students are tested frequently, through observation and informal evaluations in order to fine-tune the individualization/personalization of teaching methods and to capitalize on student strengths.
The Foundation Program’s small grouping and deep individualization allows tremendous flexibility in terms of pace and instruction, ensuring a strong foundation for the next years.
Arts are also a large focus, especially Music, and students also learn Social Skills, in both direct instruction (Social Stories, Facial Expressions) and in real-time education and recalibration. Students in the Foundation Program also have increased Outdoor Time, movement breaks and mindfulness opportunities.
Foundation students do spend time with the Lower School’s learning pods, breaks and lunchtimes, assemblies and special events, so that they get to know the wider school. Interactive technology such as the Smart Table and other devices are used so that students can learn through play; teachers provide guidance to support their self-discovery.
Grade 3 - 6
Students leaving the Foundation Program seamlessly transition into the third grade. WillowWood’s teaching remains the same, but more structure is introduced. Courses such as Social Studies and Science are delivered as discrete courses, and students participate in many learning pods.
The Pod system allows students to access programming at their level of independent functioning. Children who have uneven learning profiles can then remain with their peers and still access Pods either above or below their age level (or both). Over time, the goal is to even out the student’s learning profile.
In these grades, teachers introduce and encourage metacognitive skills and awareness. Students begin to learn how they learn, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how to compensate for weak areas with strategies.
Students learn how to study with a variety of tools – mnemonic devices, drilling, flash cards, visualization, etc – and practice these in low-stakes exam periods every semester.