The Willow School science curriculum has been designed to enhance students understanding and appreciation of the natural and physical world through programs of exploration, discovery, and interpretation. The Willow School is a place where ethical and scientific virtues meet and interact to affect positive change.
The content of the science curriculum focuses on the examination of life, earth, chemical, and physical sciences. For example, kindergartners learn that plants grow from seeds with light, water, air, and nutrition. Building upon this experience, students in the Lower School examine the basic concepts of photosynthesis and learn how plants make use of this process. In Middle School, students expand their knowledge of photosynthesis by studying cell structure and growth.
The Willow School’s 34-acre campus is integral to the science curriculum, providing a laboratory for on-site investigations of: (i) forests and wetlands, (ii) stream water quality and soil composition, (iii) seasonal changes and their effect on living organisms, (iv) environmentally sensitive building designs and groundwater systems, (v) bird and pond population, and (vi) sustainable and regenerative systems. By the end of their Middle School experience, students have been given the opportunity to cultivate a deep and profound sense of place.
Within this framework students are taught to act in a context of inquiry and research as they observe, question, investigate (by formulating and testing hypotheses), and draw conclusions that are reported, discussed, and shared with the community. Students also learn how to document their observations, studies, and investigations. In short, students practice the most important methods of real scientists. Willow students become scientists when they study science.
The science curriculum is also integrated with other subjects, allowing students to explore such concepts as: (i) the impact of science on cultures, religions, and civilizations, (ii) the connections between scientific thought and the arts, and (iii) the many uses of mathematics in the scientific world.
The curriculum strives to lay the foundation for the scientific habits of mind that can empower our students to relate to their environment in an ethical fashion and to apply the scientific method to solve problems and answer questions. Willow students are guided to take daily and long-term actions that maintain sustainable and regenerative relationships between people and their physical and natural environments.