An Exciting Announcement from Applewild’s Interim Head of School

12 Mar

Dear families:

I am delighted to announce a few changes in our kindergarten and early primary grades to make our outstanding program more available to families seeking excellent early education. First, we will be opening a new branch of Kindergarten at Applewild’s Devens Campus for the upcoming year. Our Preschool on the Devens campus opened in 2014-15 and has grown in wonderful ways, including recognition for our emphasis on nature and the outdoors by early education leaders who use our program as an example in their teacher training. We planned to add Kindergarten at some point at Devens, and with the interest of so many existing Pre-k families this year in staying, this is the year.

The Kindergarten, aligning with our existing program on our Fitchburg campus, will emphasize child discovery and the careful building of academic readiness in a climate built around Core Values, with respect at the fore, and Core Competencies such as thinking critically, creating, and communicating. We foster reading preparation skills in a low pressure way that results in most of our children being early or more advanced readers by the time they are ready for first grade. Similarly in mathematics the program provides excellent grounding in number sense, we use a thematic approach to social studies and science, and we are explicit in our teaching of our Core Values through Responsive Classroom techniques that flow naturally from our Preschool approach.

Consistent with our existing Kindergarten, the Devens campus offering will include what we call “specials” in art, music, and physical education; and the students will be the campus leaders for the younger children. The class will also travel to our Fitchburg campus twice a month to connect with their main-campus classmates and their fifth grade buddies, prepare for our spring K – 3 musical, enjoy our Lower School family-style lunches, create a toy in our woodshop special, and begin to learn French.

These various activities are all designed to prepare our children to be successful, confident learners and creative problem solvers. We know our students well and empower them to recognize how they learn best. If we think of children developing as pieces of string moving across a table top, we believe in pulling that string across the table, not pushing it.

We are pleased also to announce that on our main campus in Fitchburg, our Kindergarten will now extend hours until 3:30 Monday through Thursday on the Devens campus). For the past few years, our Kindergarten families have almost universally opted to stay beyond 2:00 until regular dismissal at 3:30. By extending Kindergarten to 3:30, we not only provide more time for our teachers, we eliminate the need for extended day charges and coordination challenges for parents with children in multiple grades. Friday dismissal will remain at noon (12:30 at Devens).

Finally, to help families afford the early – and most important – years of their children’s education, entry level tuition has been reduced (K through grade 2) for the coming year. Applewild has long been committed to finding innovative ways to make independent education affordable. This additional decision by the Board to actually lower K through grade 2 tuition continues to reinforce Applewild’s firm belief in and commitment to the future of these earliest of learners.  To view our tuition for the 18-19 school year, click here.

Chris Williamson
Interim Head of School