How Willow Students Excel


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Children find their voice at an early age at Willow in classroom meetings, discussions, and group projects that emphasize collaboration. In Morning Gathering, every student has multiple opportunities to ask questions, present insights, and contribute ideas to a school-wide conversation. The benefits of the constant practice of communication is most evident at Graduation when our Grade 8 students deliver thought-provoking, powerful, and even hilarious speeches reflecting upon their time at Willow.



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The key to having good answers is asking good questions. Inquiry is a foundational skill that students develop at Willow by posing questions that require in-depth investigation, reflection, and presentation of knowledge and understanding. This is the basis by which students become highly capable readers, writers, researchers, mathematicians, and scientists.



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Our emphasis on experiential learning, virtues and the development of responsibility and resilience through interactions with the natural world fosters leadership in every grade. At Willow, it’s not unusual to see a kindergartener speak in front of the entire school at Morning Gathering, or watch a fourth grade student initiate a school-wide service project. Leadership also comes naturally in an Age 3-Grade 8 school as Willow’s seventh and eighth graders have numerous opportunities to serve as mentors and role models to younger students.



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Inner motivation is one of the most important skills students develop during their years at Willow. While external rewards may motivate students in the short term, Willow’s brand of experiential learning and differentiated curriculum builds inner motivation that endures because it puts students in charge of their learning. The self-motivation that students gain and their intrinsic desire to learn, achieve, and affect change is one reason so many Willow graduates are valued members of their high school and college communities.



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Willow’s approach to character building is different (and highly effective) because we have thoughtfully identified the virtues we want all members of our school community to possess. Our daily practice of the Virtues Program fosters self-awareness and reinforces our commitment to living a principled life. Years after they graduate, many alumni attribute their integrity and values to the formative Virtues Program they experienced at Willow.


Systems Thinkers

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Students gain a broader worldview when they practice Systems Thinking, a discipline that helps us understand and navigate complex issues and subject matter. Encouraged to become systems thinkers, Willow students are consistently challenged to consider an issue fully, recognize the unintended consequences, and make thoughtful decisions that create positive change in the world. Request our ebook on Systems Thinking: The Essential Academic Skill Every Student Needs, Yet Few Schools Teach. We will email it to you immediately.


Request our ebook on Systems Thinking. We will email it to you immediately.

Director of Enrollment Management Lisa VanderVeen is here to help! Contact her at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email

Apply Fall 2023