Middle years done differently
Sponsored Content - Jan 14, 2020 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
Willowstone’s Middle Years Lane opened in September.

As local private school Willowstone Academy launched into its 25th anniversary this year, the community celebrated the addition of a major growth initiative for its Grade 6 to 9 students, their own separate facility on the Lakeshore Road property known as Middle Years Lane.

“Our students appreciate their own, distinct space,” says the school’s Chief Learning Officer, Karine Veldhoen. “They value that feeling of being still part of our bigger community, yet separate. The middle years are tender, pivotal years. Students still need a lot of adult coaching in their life, but they’re trying to form their own identity and break out a little bit on their own.”

Photo: Contributed

Willowstone Academy provides a holistic education and care environment that meets the individual needs of students, which it hopes will develop a child’s mind, body and spirit, and build a foundation for the future.

“In our middle years program, our expectation is that students are increasingly challenged to move from rote-learning and direct instruction into self-directed inquiry that tackles real-world problems, which inevitably explore creative solutions that affect real and palpable change in themselves and their communities,” explains middle years team lead Dave Balfour. “When students craft compelling communications through dramatic arts with modern-day Shakespeare, use NASA technologies to build robots for Mars or design logos that illustrate belonging for their House team, they are moving from being proficient students to powerful learners. That’s what we do at Willowstone Academy.”

Middle Years Lane has four classrooms for each of the grades, and the students move among them as if they were in a traditional middle school while still staying connected with their younger peers in chapel, big buddy activities and recess play.

“At Willowstone Academy, we hold the space for our young adolescents to explore their values, identity and faith with teachers who are deeply invested in unfolding their potential,” Veldhoen says. “These healthy explorations are intentionally designed to include ongoing opportunities for healthy outdoor and extra-curricular play, powerful service-oriented leadership opportunities, plus social and school spirit experiences springing from multi-grade houses.

“Children in Grades 6 to 9 are both capable and vulnerable. Our school acknowledges these developmental realities.”

A Willowstone Academy education starts at birth, with a brand new Infant and Toddler Childcare program opening in September 2020. Moving up through pre-school, pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten to Grade 9 programming, the school offers up to 12 months of seamless education and care for families.

Public registration for the 2020-21 school year will open on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Families are invited to visit www.willowstoneacademy.com to learn more and book their tour online.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.

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