The K-8 Language Arts program concentrates on developing competency in reading and writing. Young Author’s Night, daily journaling, special writing projects, letters to public officials, written reports, and free writes are just some of the ways we tackle these crucial building blocks of education. Each class also includes instruction on grammar, writing forms, spelling, handwriting, and public speaking. Wilkinson School is dedicated to educating, enriching, and grooming strong and effective communicators, bold and inventive creators, and proactive and empathetic leaders.
The K-8 reading program incorporates pertinent, engaging, and fun literature. Students read in a multitude of ways that includes daily silent reading, reading groups, Read-a-thons, the 100 Book Club, textbooks, and nightly homework. The Wilkinson School reading program teaches critical thought, reflection, analysis, comprehension, and decoding, and covers all the key components of phonics.
At Wilkinson School, practice in writing begins in kindergarten. Students develop an aptitude in the writing process and in many forms of writing. Students learn these skills through brainstorming, outlining and pre-writing, writing, editing, and in sharing or publication. Writing forms are discovered, practiced, and mastered through letters to public figures, published books, essays, daily journals, comics, poems, book reports, creative writing, documentation, and other forms of written work. Some of the school’s major goals are to develop individuality, expression, clarity, a strong voice, and mastery of punctuation and handwriting.
Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary
At Wilkinson School, each student tackles spelling, grammar, and vocabulary throughout their classwork. Our goal is to both support and challenge every student in these areas to foster competency and excellence in all of their work. Each year, students build upon these key skills through challenging texts, group exercises, games, computer and reference use, and in a disciplined and guided daily practice.
At Wilkinson, our goal is for students to work at to work at a level in math where they are challenged but not overwhelmed. Math blocks are scheduled at the same time in the entire school, allowing students to move either up or down a grade for math to find their sweet spot. In recent years, 8th graders graduated having completed Algebra 1 and Geometry. Other students have come to Wilkinson School with a fear or dislike of math and have discovered how fun it can be. Every student is challenged, guided, and evaluated so that their potential can be met each and every year. Students in kindergarten through 6th grade use the Saxon Math curriculum, which teaches mathematical concepts in incremental steps, giving students the time and instruction needed to reach deep understanding and fluency. Previously taught concepts are continually reviewed in the homework and assessments so students retain these concepts throughout the year. Many techniques are employed to master math throughout the grades at Wilkinson School, such as experiments, problems of the day, use of manipulatives and games, real world applications and studies, drills, contests, and daily exercises.
Wilkinson School science curriculum encourages students to follow their natural curiosity and strive to discover new concepts that enrich their learning through the scientific process. We use Macmillan/McGraw-Hill – A Closer Look for Science in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. At the Middle School level we use Glencoe Science—Life Science Series. All students learn about physical, life, and earth sciences based on the scientific model: the use of experiments and observations through hands-on activities, which inspire and engage classroom discussions. Students in all grades also participate in a spring science fair, which allows them to apply their knowledge and more deeply explore a special area of interest. As the year unfolds, students gain a sense of the scientific world around them and learn to appreciate all that it offers. Students also develop a respect, concern, and responsibility for its conservation.
At Wilkinson School, our social studies program focuses on developing individual, social, and cultural awareness. It prepares students to be responsible citizens, exposes them to cultural observances and celebrations, and allows them to make the vital connection between past, present, and future. Students learn how they relate to others from the past and present. Students learn to make choices and to accept responsibility for those choices. They recognize that school is a place to work and learn, they learn the role of rules in their school and classroom, and they demonstrate responsible civic behavior in class. Students come to appreciate their uniqueness and worth as human beings. Our social studies program covers the concepts of world geography and map skills, history, government, culture and economics, people and places, ancient culture, American history, Native American history, and others. Our Intensive Studies Trips are also an important part of our social studies curriculum, allowing students to physically see and experience living history beyond the textbook. The trips are open to middle school students and cover a four year cycle: Great Britain, New England, the South, and the Southwest. Elementary school students at the school mirror the middle school trips with Intensive Studies West, a week of rich, immersive, and experiential learning focusing on the same location and themes as the intensive studies trip.
Spanish education for our students in the primary grades consists of weekly exposure to the Spanish language through the exploration of basic concepts such as shapes and colors, the alphabet and counting, days of the week, seasons of the year, and learning vocabulary to describe oneself and one’s environment. Classes are further enriched with songs, arts and crafts, and cultural events. The intention of the early Spanish program is to create a foundation of basic skills, familiarity, and curiosity upon which students will build when they enter a more rigorous Spanish program in fourth through eighth grades. Spanish class for our older students is a practice of both oral and written communication skills. Students in this class create and present poetry and dialogues to their classmates and explore music, art, and some traditions of Latin American countries. They learn and expand grammar skills and idiomatic expressions and are encouraged to speak as much Spanish as possible during class time to build speaking skills and confidence.