Do you wish your child loved going to school? Do you wish she wasn't exhausted when she got home? Wouldn't it be nice if your son's afternoons and evenings were free for play and family activities, instead of tied up with a "second shift" of school due to hours of homework? Do you wish you could play more of a role in your child's education? We have been there. Here are a few other things we wished. We wished that our children's education took place as much outside the school walls as inside. We wished that they could learn real life skills like cooking, gardening, cleaning, and balancing a checkbook. We wished that they could learn to be active citizens in their community and to develop healthy relationships with others. We wanted them to learn more than the fragmented bytes of information found on standardized tests, and we wanted them to understand that "education" is a life-long endeavor; if you stop learning because you were handed a piece of paper, then that is something to mourn. We wished for all of those things, and so last fall we started Willow Tree Community School.
Willow Tree is a place for kids to be active, because it is in their natures to be active and it is good for their bodies. It is a place for their minds to be stretched through the study of languages, literature, poetry, the arts, history, and current events. It is where they can explore science and math in an experiential way, so that they can understand the logic and come to see knowledge as interrelated. It is a place where they can encounter God in the ordinary, rather than seeing Him as divorced from all of the things in the world that there are to know. Knowledge is not something that is cold and distant to our students--it is something that is intimate and life-giving.
At Willow Tree, parents are recognized as the primary educators of their own children, and they play an active role in the school. There is a profound sense of community as the adults rally around the students to help them grow in knowledge, wisdom, and character. Our parents have described the difference in their child's school experience this year as "from death to life". They appreciate that their children are valued as unique individuals. They love the fact that, while their children may come home and recount the story of Perseus and Andromeda, quote Shakespeare, or order their dinner in Spanish, they will not be stressed about grades or test scores. This is not a "standard" education, and for that, we at Willow Tree could not be prouder.
We are not wishing for a broad, rich, liberal education for our children anymore; we are living it. If you are a parent or grandparent and these ideas resonate with you, then you need to come to our next parent interest meeting this Sunday, May 6, at 3:00. There you will be able to see our curriculum and samples of student work, ask your questions, and talk to teachers and parents to get a feel for what we are all about. You may also like to browse other parts of our website or call us at 864-761-6484 to find out more.