Does West Branch School offer a full-day kindergarten?
Yes, most kindergarteners are enrolled for the full day. Children must be 4 years 7 months old by the first day of school. A visitation and an assessment of readiness are both required.
Are the children divided into classes by grade, as in the public schools?
No, not really. As a rule, children working at Kindergarten through second grade levels meet Downstairs and children working at grades third through eighth grade levels meet Upstairs. The two large groups are frequently subdivided into skill groups and project groups of various sizes depending on curricular need. Important are such factors as reading ability, social and emotional maturity, special interest, and group dynamics. It is also recognized that a single child might be operating at very different skill levels in different subjects or project areas.
How large are the skill groups?
Generally 6-11. (Skill groups are small academically oriented groups.)
How does the school meet the needs of children ahead of or behind grade level?
Partly by placing them in appropriate groups and partly by individualizing. The school enrolls a very wide range of children, but with its small teacher/student ratio, the school has no need to teach to the middle. The teachers work with each child for three or four years, therefore are familiar with each child's unique learning style. This enhances group placement. Those who need additional tutorial help in reading or math receive it through the Blast Intermediate Unit 17. Also, we have the extra welcomed help from volunteers, teachers' aides, and student interns. Teachers also spend individual time with students during breaks and after school.
What educational resources does the school have?
We have an impressively extensive library, a good selection of educational games, toys math manipulatives, science kits etc. Our computer labs with both Mac and PC platforms grow yearly, and we are connected to the Internet. We have a great selection of software for our students. Students begin using computers in Kindergarten. Keyboarding is taught throughout the school experience.
What role do field trips play?
They are a major part of our hands-on approach to learning. Frequent and varied, they range from local half-day jaunts for the younger children to more extensive, multi-day excursions for the older ones.
How do West Branch graduates handle the transition to public school?