West Branch School offers tremendous variety in its days relative to the traditional school setting. We build flexibility into the program in order to grasp wonderful teaching moments and experiences. This requires intricate planning and significant over structure in which students can anticipate, help plan, and implement their activities.
For both Upstairs and Downstairs, the day starts with a morning meeting-circle time for sharing, music, discussion or current events, and generally settling into the day. Students may take turns facilitating the meeting. The Upstairs children have a longer meeting each day. They may review subject areas pertaining to the larger group. After meeting, students break into smaller groups for more specific instructions and guidance. Frequently, this involves moving from teacher to teacher, but it also includes independent study, individual student/teacher conferencing, team project work, and study group activity.
During the noon hour students eat a lunch brought from home, or they eat pizza ordered through an Upstairs fundraising project. Recreation and free choice follows lunch, and students play or work on school projects that are always in process. Younger children have a quiet story time after lunch.
Afternoons are varied. They may include music, art, physical fitness activities, physical education (students go to the YMCA weekly during the winter), science experiments, curricular games, and drama (as part of the curriculum both Downstairs and Upstairs put on annual plays. The Upstairs often immerses itself in a major Shakespeare production). The day ends with assigned clean up chores.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE AT WBS?