Willow students take part in handcrafts classes from kindergarten through fourth grade. In fifth grade they begin the study of architecture. In Middle School, students can delve deeper into architecture by choosing an architecture elective. Working in the studio, students build an understanding of the relationships between the nature of a place and the designs of its people. Using a variety of tools, natural materials, and specific techniques, students further their understanding of the processes and strategies involved in making unique and purposeful objects.
Because handcrafts and architecture are both an amalgam of the core academic subjects, this curriculum reinforces classroom lessons in an authentic, creative, and tangible manner. All students learn that weaving and knitting are traditional methods of story-telling (language arts), that the raw materials we use in class (paper, wood, wool, cotton, etc.) are made up of fibers from plants and animals (science), that creative design processes are built on patterns (math), and that each culture has its own unique, distinctive handcraft and architecture (social studies). The handcrafts and architecture design sequence serves as a laboratory for creative thinking and self-discovery that prepares the students to be observant, perceptive learners.