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Willowwind School

950 Dover Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

(319) 338-6061


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Montessori

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Montessori materials; brown stair, pink tower, bead cabinent, etc
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

The Montessori curriculum provides children with opportunity to expand their knowledge of language arts, math, science, social studies, geography, and history. Lessons are presented to individual children. Children have choice in the works they select. Each classroom is well stocked with high quality materials for practical life, sensorial, math, language arts, and cultural studies.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Willowwind teachers are tremendous observers of children. They make note of each child's develomental progress and offer work that supports and extends the child's learning. The options within the classroom and the materials available provide teachers with specific ways to invidualize for each child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Willowwind School is an independent school founded in 1972 by a group of educators and parents to provide an innovative approach to education for the Iowa City community. We believe that children learn best in an atmosphere that provides security, continuity, and high expectations. A low student-teacher ratio allows teachers to establish informed, caring relationships with students and to meet the specific educational and social needs of each child. We believe that the Basic School framework of community, curriculum with coherence, climate, and commitment to character describes our believes about the need for both a strong and supportive acadmeic and social curriculum.

A Typical Day

Preschool children are immersed in classroom work as they join their friends at the beginning of each session. Line time is a welcoming meeting time about 30 minutes after the school day begins. children sing songs, move their bodies, and talk together. An extended work time follows giving children the opportunity to concentrate and focus on work they are engaged with and enjoy. The work time may end with an outside play time, music, or Spanish class. Line times may be added to the day as children indicate the desire or need for discussion. Children lunch together in their classroom and have a short rest time following lunch clean up. Children who nap have the opportunity to do so while older children can continue working. The Montessori works engage children in conceptual thinking, hands-on action, cooperation.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents and teachers communicate regularly through discussion and e-mail. Conferences are held in the fall and spring. The Willowwind Friends and Family organization hosts speakers on topics such as Montessori curriculum and philosophy and parenting skills. Open houses, parent meetings, and community-building events are planned throughout the year.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions

Handling Separation: From the Director

We prepare families by providing preschool preview opportunities. We encourage families to spend time on the playground before the school year begins. Once school starts we work to build a consistent, familiar, and reassuring routine. We conference with individual families as needed to discuss additional strategies for a smooth home to school transistion.