Projects are the core of The Willow School’s curriculum.
They are in-depth studies of a single theme or topic lasting days or several weeks. These projects are planned with the children and are designed to support and extend the more formal and teacher directed instructional elements. Students in our private school classes have the freedom to choose different strategies and approaches in designing projects which allows them to become more engaged in the learning process.
- Students regularly engage in critical thinking
- Emphasis is on mastery of skills and concepts, not rote memorization
- After completing projects students gain a sense of accomplishment
- In depth learning is emphasized
- Public speaking skills are fostered with regular presentations in our private school classes
The Willow School’s project based curriculum invites students to be actively involved in their own education and to take responsibility for their own learning.
This is done by identifying children’s individual learning styles and encouraging them to reflect on their learning processes.
How do we implement experiential and project based learning at Willow?
- Teachers are the coaches; we are here to assist the students, guide them and support their learning. Teachers are the “guides by the side, not the sage on the stage.”
- We believe that self discovery is achieved best through active and experiential learning. “ Hands on, minds on.”
- We avoid long lectures or teacher centered activities - instead we provide “mini-lessons”; short fifteen minute teacher presentations to teach critical skills.
- We structure our curriculum with culminating projects to reinforce what students have learned and to help build skills. Projects also act as assessments. Projects allow our students to “show what they know.” These demonstrations of learning are our primary method of evaluating student knowledge and skill attainment.
- Students learn faster and retain more knowledge when they are given the opportunity to teach others what they have learned. Therefore students are given many opportunities to teach and share with their fellow students.
- Projects provide incentive and motivation to excel. When students are asked to perform in front of others in our private school classes here in Indian River County. They naturally work harder to prepare themselves for their presentations.
- Students enjoy their learning more if they are given choices in their studies. Within the structure of the curriculum, students are encouraged to work in the areas that are of most interest to them.
- Much of the Willow program is based on the Learning Pyramid study*, which demonstrates that students retain information better when they are actively involved in their learning.
*Learning Pyramid: The Learning Pyramid Study and graphic displays best teaching methods for learning retention. At The Willow School in Indian River County, we primarily use the four bottom tiers to enhance our students learning retention.
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