Our Kindergarten Program
A unique blend of farm, art, and forest concepts infused into a developmentally appropriate curriculum designed specifically for our 5 & 6-year-old students. Their schedule and daily rhythms run independently from the rest of the school allowing for plenty of time to learn routines, develop their sense of wonder, and ignite the author, artist, gardener, environmentalist, and scientist in each of them! The Cabin is their dedicated indoor learning space and the great outdoor campus of Woodson Branch is their lab.
Focus & Skills
A new awareness and curiosity of the great outdoors
An appreciation for art and hand crafts
A concept of where their food comes from
An excitement and curiosity for numbers
An understanding of how letters are formed and how they work together to make meaningful words
Practice in partner and group learning
Prospective students must be 5 years old by August 31st....
*Should you child's birthday be close to that date, you may request an individual evaluation to assess their readiness for the Kindergarten Program.
DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECTS
Literature, Writing, and Reading
WBNS implements our version of the Units of Study for Reading and Writing program, by Lucy Calkins and her Teachers College Reading and Writing Project coauthors. This program aims to prepare students for any reading and writing task they will face and to turn kids into life-long, confident readers and writers who display agency and independence. They have drawn on their more than 30 years of research and work in thousands of schools across the country and around the world to develop powerful curriculum resources, instructional methods, and professional learning opportunities to support teachers as they work together and with their students toward these vitally important goals.
Our Agriculture Program
Our Agriculture Program incorporates the world of plants and animals in harmony. At WBNS we are a "teach" and "feed" site designed to guide students in the art of learning to feed oneself as a means to feed the entire community. We learn all about where our food comes from, how to grow it in a wide variety of spaces, how to harvest and prepare it for consumption, and share the bounty with our neighbors in need. WBNS currently contributes 80% of the produce we grow onsite to Beacon of Hope, our local food bank. There are several gardens at WBNS: the pumpkin patch, the school garden, and the student garden plots, with more to come! As a means to help students learn more about who they are, each student manages their own garden plot using personal choice from design, to planting, to daily maintenance, to harvest, to market, trade, and preservation. The animals we focus on and who reside at WBNS are Rabbits (Kindergarten), Chickens (1st & 2nd grades), Worms (3rd grades), and the Goats and our guard dog, Duke is cared for by the Middle School students (5th - 8th grades).
Our Art Program
In the spirit of the STEAM education approach, our Art Program complements academics through the practice of establishing pathways in creativity for solving real-world problems. Additionally, our students learn a plethora of art techniques as part of their daily studies including various painting forms, pottery, yarn and needlework, sculpture, paper-making, beading, collage, mosaic, and more. Our season blocks rotate with traditional hand-work in the fall, 2-dimensional drawing and painting in the spring, then 3-dimensional sculpture and building in our summer block. You will find that art is threaded throughout the entire curriculum as hands-on creation and processing is the essential thread that brings it all together!
Through daily "Centering", communing with nature all over our magical property, reflections time at the close of the day, and Conflict Resolution classes ( Middle School) students learn and practice matters of the social/emotional realm developing their character as individuals and as members of the learning community.
WBNS has adopted Singapore Math otherwise known as mental math strategies as a leading guide for all grade groups. Compared to a traditional U.S. math curriculum, Singapore math focuses on fewer topics but covers them in greater detail. Each semester-level Singapore math textbook builds upon prior knowledge and skills, with students mastering them before moving on to the next grade. Students, therefore, need not re-learn these skills at the next grade level. These concepts lend themselves perfectly to our hands-on group learning lessons. This program flows naturally into the chosen curriculum for middle school, which is New York Engage.
Our Outdoor Education Program
Our Outdoor Education Program incorporates the concepts of environmentalism and conscious communing with the natural world. WBNS teaches the Leave No Trace methods and commits to its practices. On and off campus we practice activities from Project Wild and Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature, as well as concepts from the Leopold Project. Additionally, we engage students in exciting activities in nature such as hiking, camping, white water rafting, zip-lining, overnight backpacking, and more!
Our Science Program
Our Elementary General Science Lab Teacher presents engaging hands-on learning lessons weekly for 3rd-5th grades (based on the benchmarks for each of the grade levels). Our Middle School Science Teacher conducts class Monday-Thursday complete with labs. Together they prepare students for the concepts of scientific research through inquiry, inference, experimentation, and conclusion.
Our Physical Education Program
Students are taught a variety of sports such as Disc Golf, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Cross-Country, Dodge-ball, and the ever-popular Thunder-ball! Students are introduced to the fine art of creating games to broaden any subject. We team up and hold tournaments at the end of most units where students learn the art of setting goals for themselves through friendly competition where good sportsmanship is the central guiding force.
Unstructured Forest Time
Aside from being outdoors as much as possible and traversing the property throughout the day, students experience 1-1.5 hours each day of unstructured (but not unsupervised!) time in our woods, fields, trails, and creeks. They build natural shelters, create games, construct dams in the creek, and check in on various habitats of the bugs, insects, birds, and wild animals who reside at Woodson Branch Nature School.