The Willow School fosters a love for learning in its students. Opened in 2000, the school has 120 students in preschool through grade 8. Willow’s integrated, hands-on curriculum is designed for the way children learn best.

The philosophy of founders Pearl Johnson and Mark Biedron was to build a school that was grounded in the Aristotelian cardinal virtues and combined academic excellence with the joy and wonder of learning.

The 34-acre campus provides a healthy learning environment, which also makes it the ideal space for learning when students return to school amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are an open campus, so we have access to a lot of outdoor learning space,” says Head of School Francisco Ayala. The school has always emphasized experiential, outdoor learning and this coming school year students will be able to thrive with enough space to learn and play outdoors.

Keeping Students Connected

Willow’s class sizes are small by design, giving students the one-on-one attention they need from their teachers, whether students are learning on campus or online. 

Last spring, the school switched to virtual learning and was able to keep students connected to one another in a joyful learning environment.

“Teachers met regularly with students, in and outside of daily live classes,” says Ayala. “Our teachers really went above and beyond to offer support, track progress, and set individual goals.”

Specials at the school continued online, including art, wellness, music, reading support and world languages.

Looking Ahead

During the 2020-2021 school year, Willow is offering families a choice between full-day in-person learning and virtual instruction.

“Our small class sizes allow for social distancing,” says Ayala. For students that opt to remain at home, Willow will offer a distance learning program that combines synchronous and asynchronous experiences.

One thing that sets Willow apart is its Virtues Program which focuses on character education.

“It’s embedded in every aspect of our program and helps students to develop into their best selves,” says Ayala.

Above all, The Willow School is a very tight-knit community.

“Even during distance learning, we still continued to bring our community together for learning celebrations, music performances and social gatherings,” says Ayala. “We’re committed to maintaining that joy and sense of belonging for every member of our school community.”

1150 Pottersville Rd., Gladstone
908-470-9500
willowschool.org

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