Enrichment

Lovin’ the Technology

All students in grades 5 – 8 are assigned a laptop computer for the school year to use in our private school classrooms. The primary use of computers is for:
  • Word processing
  • Internet research
  • Key board practice
  • Art and power point presentations

The following is a list of technology skills that each student masters by the time they complete middle school:

  • Identify and use functions for word processing such as: spell checker, electronic thesaurus and word counter
  • Understand the need for protection of software and hardware from computer viruses
  • Discriminate between ethical and unethical access to information stored on computers, servers, and the Intern
    et
  • Identify terms related to computer-generated production (i.e. desktop publishing, clip art, hypertext, URL, multimedia, CD-ROM, scanners, camcorders)
  • Demonstrate effective use of Internet search skills including a variety of search engines and prioritizing queries while working in our private school classrooms here in Vero Beach
  • Correctly use the terms web site, search engine, and online database
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the evaluation of validity of materials obtained from the Internet
  • Identify the information necessary for a complete source citation (author, title, URL, date accessed, date of last revision)
  • Demonstrate basic functions of using electronic mail including attachments
  • Understand the need to protect personal information from electronic access
  • Understand and use safe practices when using communication devices in our private school classrooms

 

Is there Drama at Willow?!

 

Drama, like art, is incorporated into daily curriculum especially in the project component of class work. Lessons may include activities such as the dramatization of a scene or the depiction of a character from history or literature. Additionally, Willow students frequently perform skits or plays during the school year. These are presented to the public at large.

According to theater educators, drama addresses a child’s education by:

  1. providing physical/kinesthetic skills
  2. giving artistic opportunities for development
  3. improving thinking skills
  4. developing inter-personal skills
  5. fostering knowledge of self (intrapersonal skills)

Drama is also taught formally as part of our afternoon enrichment program. This curriculum is ensemble based. This technique has been used throughout schools in the United States and abroad. During drama class, children practice a variety of improvisation activities, voice and projection exercises, and skits.

A UCLA study concluded that students involved in the arts tend to have higher academic performance and better standardized test scores — nearly 100 points better on the SAT, according to a separate study by The College Board.

Drama also:

  • Improves public speaking skills
  • Increases confidence to speak in front of others
  • Improves self discipline
  • Teaches about working together as a team (or ensemble)
  • Helps to understand achieving consensus and reaching a goal

 

Willow Art

Art is one of our most appreciated activities, and we’re very glad for this. For so many reasons – not the least of which is the simple fact that our students love it – we integrate art into class themes as much as possible.

Teaching the arts deepens the learning of curricular skills and content knowledge and provides additional avenues for invention, creativity and expression. That’s a whole lot of benefit! Who knows what creativity and talent are just waiting to be released and explored by your child. The Willow School is the perfect soil for the Arts to be inspired and grow in your child right here.

When visiting a classroom art is everywhere. It is common to see children’s stories illustrated with detailed drawings and elaborate covers or see figurines, pirate ships, shields or posters around the classrooms as aspects of recent units of study.

In addition to art being expressed everywhere, Art, as a subject, is also taught in the afternoons. The focus of this class is on artistic elements and art history. Art students have the valuable opportunity to learn about specific artists and time periods.

During this time they create art using a variety of mediums from drawing and painting to clay and sculpture.

At the Willow School, afternoon art classes are devoted entirely to creative expression allowing children to dive into a medium and explore it inside and out, while their creativity is allowed – no, encouraged – to flow. Some of the recent art projects the children have worked on include:

  • pen and ink renderings
  • pastels
  • watercolor
  • charcoals
  • simple clay structures

The light in the eyes of The Willow School students, as they express their creativity, curiosity and joy through the Arts, is something you will really enjoy seeing…we do!

Check out this video about our art program!

 

Music Rocks at Willow

 

Our music program is designed to introduce children to music as well as foster a love music and singing as a large emphasis of the program is on singing. Many schools have eliminated or reduced music programs because of budget cuts but we realize the importance of music and want to provide our students with every learning modality.

Grades K-1: Kindermusik

  • Have an introduction to music with an emphasis on singing and movement.
  • Children work on pitch, tone, melody, choral singing, and rounds
  • They explore percussion instruments and much more

Grades 2-4: Ukulele

  • Introduction to rhythms, tone and melody
  • Introduction to reading music

Grades 2-8: Chorus

  • Children learn how to sing
  • They practice many vocal exercises
  • Students learn a wide variety of songs
  • They are also learning song writing

Grades 5-8: Guitar

  • Basic acoustic guitar
  • Reading music
  • Notes and cords
  • Live performance

As part of our service learning program, our students work toward public presentations for many local organizations throughout the year. They also perform regularly for their parents.

In addition, all Willow students are learning how to read music and are able to identify and discern the various orchestral instruments.

Physical Education or ‘Play Enthusiastically’

Students have 30 minutes of Physical Education or PE everyday, that is 150 minutes a week of organized activities.

We create lessons that teach children physical games and gross motor skills in a supportive environment. We also introduce and help them master a variety of team sports such as baseball, football, basketball and volleyball.

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 10 million children ages 6-19 are overweight. They recommend that elementary students receive 150 minutes a week of physical education. Willow does just that as part of providing education for and addressing childhood obesity.

Additionally, in the January, 2009 Journal of School Health, researchers from Harvard University reported a correlation between passing physical fitness tests and better results on academic tests. The study which involved 1,800 middle school students found that children could benefit academically from physical activity both in an organized class as well as during recess.

As part of our childhood obesity educational program, we acknowledge the importance of physical exercise by devoting daily time for it. We do this through our interpretation of PE which is: “Playing Enthusiastically.”

Studies show that adults are most likely to pursue exercise if they have positive associations and memories about it. Therefore, our goal is to have children experience physical exercise as a positive activity. We want our children to:

  • have fun
  • learn team work
  • get fit

Check out PE in Action!

 

Starting Spanish in Kindergarten!

We use TPR (Total Physical Response)

As the United States economy becomes increasingly globalized, the ability to speak a second language is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Many college graduates, when interviewing for jobs, are asked if they speak another language.

With this in mind, the educational goal for Willow students is to give them a solid foundation in a foreign language upon graduation.

To achieve this, Willow, teaches Spanish to all its students starting in Kindergarten. The TPR approach engages learners with speaking, listening, story telling and movement. We incorporate conversation with movement to simulate the natural learning of a foreign language.

Willow Spanish focuses on:

  • Building beginning and then intermediate-level conversational skills
  • Spelling and writing accurately
  • Speaking Spanish without a script
  • Retaining what was learned
  • Reading and understanding Spanish

Below are Sample Topics Covered. These include:

  • Age, family relations, household items
  • Questions, greetings, introductions
  • Times of day, calendar terms, the weather
  • Directions, locations, telling time
  • Present, past and future tense
  • Apologies and polite requests
  • How to order at a restaurant and give and receive directions
  • Emotions, opinions, and ideas