WDS provides a progressive education for future members of a world community in need of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, storytellers, physicians, architects, activists, artists of every stripe, and occupations we cannot even yet fathom. Drawing from the arts and a well of experience, we teach everything from rhetoric to astrophysics.
We take kids seriously. We care deeply about their interests, ideas, contributions and growth. And so we actively cultivate a learning environment that is inclusive, has meaningful social ties, and is growth-oriented.
Our approach to education includes building a foundation by (1) seeing the whole child, (2) valuing each student, (3) nurturing intrinsic motivation, and (4) learning through collaborative problem solving.
Seeing the Whole Child
We tap into multiple intelligences and personalize our approach to the needs of the individual child. We understand that every child has a range of abilities and gifts. So it is not enough to insure that our students become strong writers, and know how to reason or understand complex math problems. They need to acquire social and emotional literacy as well. And so they need to value and be encouraged to pursue their strengths and interests.
- We honor the curiosity and imaginations of children. We promote a culture of respect for ourselves, our fellow human beings, and our environment. We cultivate this with our campus setting that serves as a catalyst for interactivity and intergenerational learning.
- At WDS, we provide a wide range of visual and performing arts to support imagination and creativity.
- We are intentional about assigning homework. Our school day is about fully engaging in learning, while being at home is meant to be restorative, allowing time to connect with family.
Valuing Each Student
It’s an essential part of our program that we get to know each and every student. We do this by prioritizing wellness,and making sure that every child feels valued with a sense of belonging and connection to the school community.
- We scaffold social and emotional dimensions to learning through staples like Circle Time, Morning Meetings, Friday Gatherings, the Tribes programs and advisories.
- We ensure older kids interact with younger kids on a regular basis.
- Our social and emotional programs are designed to weave relationships: safe, authentic and supportive relationships between teachers and students, and between the students themselves.
Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation
At Woodstock Day School, we value intellectual growth. Our progressive roots push us to actively encourage curiosity and the innate enthusiasm to keep learning. This approach forms the foundation for developing intrinsic motivation, which is critical to keeping students engaged and interested in the world around them.
- By having a well-rounded program, our students are given opportunities to find their voice and engage in self-directed learning. We use the arts to broaden perspectives, expand awareness, and allow students to rehearse multiple viewpoints.
- We establish routines of goal setting, time management, and assessing, so learning becomes self-directed and interdependent.
- Our program is not based on a traditional view of achievement, but is rather a continuum that moves each child along at the appropriate pace. We don’t believe that every student needs to achieve the same level of competency, in the same subject areas, at the same time.
Learning through Collaborative Problem Solving
We deliberately teach students the skills needed to collaborate, problem solve and create – restlessly and beautifully. Woodstock Day School is rooted in experiential learning. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary studies, as well as connecting to the natural world.
- We encourage students to gain an understanding of the world through questioning, doing research and presenting their findings.
- We focus on restorative approaches to discipline and to learning. We teach kids how to manage conflict, anger, and failure. We offer strategies and mind sets to negotiate through disagreement, complexity, and the world of ideas.
- We value stewardship. We encourage students to develop the courage to do what is right. We approach science through a STEAM curriculum and the lens of environmental literacy and activism (Citizen Science).
- We value citizenship. We teach broad and open-mindedness. We believe it is possible to teach kindness, openness, patience, compassion, and all the civic virtues of becoming a good human being. Our teachers are capable of accompanying students on this mindful journey.