School of the Woods offers classes in early childhood through high school.
Early Childhood/Kindergarten (2 1/2 to 6 years)
Children in this multi-age group learn more easily and efficiently than at any other time of life. Our teachers design each child’s curriculum to foster optimal growth and development. These experiences are presented in accordance with each child’s skills and interest levels.The children learn about order and organization, movement coordination, and fine and gross motor skills, gaining self-confidence and independence. These experiences lay the groundwork for future learning throughout their lives. The holistic, hands-on activities include vocabulary development, sensorial awareness, math, language arts, handwriting, sciences, geography, history, art, and music.Every child receives personalized instruction in learning opportunities that promotes individual decision making, critical thinking, and cognitive growth.
Lower Elementary (6 to 9 years; Grades 1-3)
Students widen their horizons through an expanding curriculum. Abundant materials foster optimum development of reading, spelling and writing skills. Math operations emphasize the understanding of process as well as accuracy in computations. Acquired basic skills are then applied in interdisciplinary themes. In science, students research, classify, observe and conduct experiments. Work in cultural subjects includes the study of needs of people around the world and throughout history. Elementary children at School of the Woods are assessed continuously through teacher observations. They advance through a system known as mastery learning. This means that students must demonstrate mastery of the concept to be learned before they proceed to the next level. Students explore art history and expression as well as music theory, history and expression in separate three-hour blocks each week. This interactive learner-centered environment provides small and whole group cooperative activities in addition to individualized instruction.
Upper Elementary (9 to 12 years; Grades 4-6)
Children of the upper elementary level transition from learning by hands-on-experiences to the abstract understanding of concepts. New thinking brings a growing sense of membership in society. Work on group projects, use of community resources (such as libraries and museums) and an expansion in field study become important new elements in the curriculum. Children go on fossil digs, study lifestyles of ancient peoples in cultural anthropology experiences and tour early American historical sites. Music and art classes occur weekly with enough time to complete projects and research. The introduction of homework teaches social skills in monitoring work, meeting dead lines responsibly and using textbooks efficiently. Mastery learning assumes a new dimension in the upper elementary class with 95% accuracy required in math testing before students can progress. Upper elementary students provide service to others by aiding younger children in their lessons, and sharing research results with other classes.
Woods Middle School (12 to 14 years; Grades 7-8)
Seventh and eighth grade students are emerging into adolescence, a time of rapid personal growth and change. To guide our students through this critical period, School of the Woods has created a unique program, so successful that it is now a model for similar programs in other Montessori and public schools systems nationwide. Our adolescent program emphasizes and encourages individual personal responsibility and collaborative learning. It designates large blocks of time to allow in-depth individual work and small group seminars. To help develop personal responsibility, Middle School students prepare periodic progress reports for their parents and are required to plan and lead these parent-teacher-student conferences. Service Learning activities and cross-age teaching also continue to build the collaborative skills of students at this level. All Middle School students take part in hands-on service learning and build real life skills by working off-campus as interns – one week with younger children and one working in local businesses. They also take part in student government committees, and present science and history lessons to fellow students. Every year, a student group travels to New York to participate in the Montes- sori Model United Nations along with students from all over the world.
Woods High School (14 to 18 years; Grades 9-12)
The Woods High School courses of study reflect an integration of the Texas requirements of essential elements, the newest research about the developmental needs of adolescents, the Montessori philosophy, current learning theory, and the predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century. The curriculum and instruction are designed as a four-year program in which classes meet the rigorous criteria of honors distinction. Unique to our Montessori secondary program, Self-Construction courses focus on cultivating the whole student to realize her/his full potential. Senior Thesis is the culmination of this course work. The goal of Senior Thesis is to afford students the opportunity to pursue a topic about which they are passionate. They complete lasting, meaningful work that applies interdisciplinary knowledge and original research. Students complete a final thesis paper and present their work to the High School community. Our students graduate prepared for academic success in college and with a vision for their personal future.