WDS offers a vibrant array of co-curricular programs, thoughtfully designed to complement our mission and expand the horizons of our students. These offerings not only provide interesting choices but also create a tapestry of after-school activities that enrich the overall educational experience.
During the school day, our curriculum comes alive with field trips, special on-campus performances, Residencies like our annual African Drum and Dance program, and Intensives which offer students the opportunity to expand their hands-on learning through immersive workshops
Our dedicated teachers at WDS carefully organize field trips to broaden students’ perspectives on the world, enriching their understanding of community, history, science, arts, and math. These excursions align with the environmentally mindful aspect of the WDS mission, reinforcing the school’s commitment to sustainability.
Field trips serve as powerful tools to expand students’ knowledge of their place in the world, instilling a sense of empowerment to effect positive change. Students learn the value of service, whether it involves caring for the natural world or assisting fellow citizens in need. Each trip is thoughtfully tailored to the specific age group, ensuring that the experience is both educational and developmentally appropriate.
Field trips are conceived with existing curricula in mind, although some are designed specifically for community building (like going ice skating on Valentine’s Day). Previous memorable outings have included apple picking at a local farm, visits to the local library, exploration of history at an archaeological site, and journeys to significant landmarks such as the United Nations and the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City.
Periodically, WDS arranges special performances designed exclusively for students. Past events have included captivating environmental education performances, like discovering insights about the Catskill Mountain watershed from Arm of the Sea Theater, and gaining knowledge about energy conservation through engaging performances by the National Theatre for Children.
WDS provides enriching co-curricular experiences to students across various grade levels through our residency programs, allowing them to deepen their knowledge and skills in the arts. Past years have seen engaging residencies in African Drumming and Dance, Drama, and Media Arts.
One cherished tradition spanning over 25 years is our African Drum and Dance Residency. Led by our beloved Preschool teacher, Pamela Lord Camara, and her husband, a renowned Guinean master drummer and dancer, Mimo Camara, this residency offers tailored Guinean drum and dance lessons over several weeks. The program, designed to suit the abilities of each age group, culminates in a captivating performance.
Throughout this residency, students not only enhance their artistic skills but also gain a unique cultural experience, immersing themselves in the rich traditions of Guinea and West Africa. The physical aspects of drumming contribute to the well-being of students’ hands, hearts, and minds, making this residency a holistic and rewarding experience.
Each school year, students experience an immersive educational journey during our Intensives, where both our dedicated faculty and guest teachers from the community curate unique classes covering a diverse range of subjects such as textile arts, forensic science, cooking, and beyond. Tailored to captivate students from Preschool through 12th grade, these Intensives are intentionally designed to enhance the WDS educational experience in an enticing and hands-on manner.
Going beyond traditional academics, the Intensives serve as windows into the worlds of our visiting teachers. This not only enriches students’ understanding and knowledge of their community but also provides valuable opportunities for engaging and fulfilling hands-on work. Our Intensives aim to broaden horizons, encouraging students to explore new interests and discover the richness of the world around them in an experiential and interactive way.
WDS is currently reimagining its approach to community service, aiming to create a program that allows students to progressively develop their understanding of community, its significance, and their role within it. This transformative journey, spanning from Early Childhood to 12th grade, is designed to raise awareness of local and global racial and economic diversity, foster a sense of purpose, shape career goals, and instill the fulfilling experience of helping others. Details about the revamped program will be available in the 2024/25 school year. In the meantime, this page serves as a resource to explore past community service projects, many of which will continue under the new model.
Embedded in the school culture is a steadfast commitment to community service, encompassing activities such as food drives, clothing drives, participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program (Route 212), and community gift drives. Students have actively engaged in service work at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, volunteered at Family of Woodstock, and contributed to apple harvesting at local orchards. These initiatives, marked by the school’s identity as a “good neighbor,” are recurrent, with invitations extended for continued participation.
A significant annual event is Leith of Life Day, dedicated to the memory of Leith Rogovin, a cherished WDS employee who played a vital role in the community service program for two decades. Held each spring, this day sees students from all grade levels engaging in various community service activities. From cleaning up highways and working in homeless shelters to playing games with seniors and performing concerts at nursing homes, students contribute to the betterment of the community in diverse ways. This event stands as a unique and integral part of the school’s culture, honoring Leith’s life and legacy.