How do I apply to the Lower School?

Please contact Kendra Anderson, Associate Director of Admissions (kanderson@willnorth.wpengine.com) to learn how you can apply and or take a tour of our Lower School. You can also click here to review or fill out an application for our Lower School.

Can you give specifics about the curriculum at the Lower School?

Williamsburg Northside Lower School offers an educational experience that uses a carefully planned and well researched course of study based on well-respected curricular materials. Both Social Studies and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) serve as unifying principles for the project work done at each level.

Curriculum materials used to ensure that National, State and our own high standards are met:

Mathematics – Investigations(TERC), Singapore Math, Simple Solutions

Science –  The Next Generation Science Standards, Full Option Science System (FOSS)

Literacy – The Balanced Literacy Approach

Social Studies – The National Social Studies Standards and the Bank Street Developmental model.

Social Emotional – Responsive Classroom, Yardsticks, Connected and Respected and CASEL. The school focuses its work around Core Values (Compassion, Individuality, Resiliency, Collaboration, and Responsibility).

Health – The New York State Guidance Document

How does the Reggio Emilia philosophy serve the needs of a student in the 21st century?

The vision of the children as both strong and capable, the practice of having their interests guide the context of the project work, and the cross curricular connections made in the learning experience are largely responsible for creating an environment of motivated and extremely engaged students. In this rapidly changing world that is the 21st century, it is no longer enough for children to “learn material.” They also must learn to communicate with many different groups of people; they must develop their creative side so that they can approach novel problems and come up with innovative solutions; and they must also learn how to make connections across areas of study. The Reggio Emilia philosophy combined with the curriculum at the Lower School allows us to both accomplish the mission of the school including meeting the needs of our students to understand their world and prepare to take an active role in shaping it.

What are the qualifications of the Lower School faculty?

Head Teachers hold Master’s Degrees. Co-Teachers are most often working towards a Master’s Degree and see teaching as a career path for themselves.

What is the faculty to student ratio?

The overall ratio of teaching faculty to students is 5:1. Each homeroom is typically made up of 15-20 students and has one Head Teacher and may have a Co-Teacher depending on the size of the class.

What classes are taught by specialists at Williamsburg Northside?

Art, Library, Science, Music, Spanish and Physical Education are taught by specialists. These professionals meet weekly with our Lower School Head Teachers to build connections between their classes, project work, literacy and mathematics. These cross-curricular connections allow students to represent their learning and contribute their expertise in a variety of ways. It also reinforces the idea that knowledge is not packed neatly into boxes, but rather interconnects in increasingly complex ways. We have Grammy winners, as well as former soccer players with FIFA on our team!

Will my child take standardized tests at Williamsburg Northside?

Though standardized tests are not a central focus of assessment in the Lower School, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade students take the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) tests, similar to other independent schools in NYC. Students in the Lower School do not take the New York State Standardized Tests given in public schools.

How do assessments depict learning taking place at Williamsburg Northside?

Our teachers use a variety of assessment tools in addition to the CTP: observations, notation of student discussions, photography, the collection of work samples, and informal and group challenges. Formal assessments are done to determine instructional reading level, as well as to determine mastery of material in math. Collectively these provide a thorough overall picture of each student which is shared with parents throughout the year. These tools are important not only to measure student progress, but also to inform future instruction.

According to assessments, how do Williamsburg Northside students compare to other private school students?

According to the standardized assessments, Williamsburg Northside students typically perform better than students at their same grade levels from other independent schools.

What is the homework practice at Williamsburg Northside?

Regular, formal homework assignments begin in 2nd Grade during the second half of the school year. In Kindergarten through the beginning of 2nd Grade, students may be asked to keep a log of nightly reading, or bring in artifacts that relate to project work periodically. If a student needs additional support, homework may be used to provide extended practice.

Will my child have an opportunity for gross motor movement each day at Williamsburg Northside?

Gross Motor activity/time happens every day in the Lower School in the following ways:

  • Open Gym (unstructured and structured play takes place daily in our middle school regulation sized gym)
  • Our three large outdoor terrace spaces allow students to build and explore using various blocks and outdoor equipment
  • Neighborhood playgrounds are used and are within walking distance
  • Students often explore the neighborhood with their classes as it pertains to classwork, and/or the need to enjoy the outdoors.

Does Williamsburg Northside assist with Middle School Placement and transitioning?

Yes! Students graduating from the Lower School will be prepared to attend any of the broad range of excellent NYC middle schools, both independent and public. During the spring of a child’s 4th Grade year, we will officially begin to provide students and families with the necessary information and tools to begin the middle school search. Assistance is provided from the beginning of the application/admissions process to the end.

During the fall, each 5th Grade student is paired with a knowledgeable faculty advisor who will support and prepare students for their transition into middle school. This collaborative process with students and families ensures a successful and supportive placement process.

To what Middle Schools have Williamsburg Northside Lower School alumni been accepted?

In addition to a variety of Public Schools our Lower School children have gone on to or been accepted by Packer-Collegiate, Brooklyn Friends, and LREI. As a relatively new Lower School, this list will grow in the coming years.

What is the birthday cut-off date for each age group?

Prekindergarten- 4 years old by December 31st

Kindergarten- 5 years old by December 31st

1st Grade- 6 by December 31st

Do all of the students who attend Williamsburg Northside live in Williamsburg?

Not all Lower School families reside in Williamsburg. There are families who join our community from Manhattan and Queens as well. Getting to Williamsburg Northside is easy!

Subway – G, J, and L trains

Ferry – East River Ferry from Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn

Bus – B62, B32, B24 and Q59

What time does school begin? What time is school dismissed?

Families are welcomed into the classroom at 8:30 each morning. Parents and caregivers are invited to join in until 8:45 when the school day begins. Dismissal is at 3pm. We offer early drop off option at 8am (no charge).

What is the calendar for the school year?

Click here to see the school calendars

Does WNS offer an After School Program? Summer Camp?

Yes! Please click here to learn more about our Lower School’s Afterschool program.

Please click here to learn more about the Summer Camps being offered at the Lower School building.

What does Community Life and Diversity look like at WNS?

To learn more about WNS Diversity please visit our Diversity page.

How does WNS view the parents’ role at the school?

The role of the parent is viewed as a vital one. There are many ways for parents to get involved:

  • Attend Back to School Night to learn more about the classroom experience
  • Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences to discuss a student’s progress
  • Come to evening academic workshops and learn more about how Math and Literacy are taught at Northside
  • Attend the Parent Lecture Series throughout the year, focused on providing tools and information for thoughtful parenting
  • Join in to support our amazing Parent Association, volunteer within the school, or chaperone a field trip
  • Offer to share a special skill or read a favorite book with a class

Is Financial Aid available?

Financial Aid is available for Kindergarten-5th Grade students. For the 2015-2016 School Year, over 50% of our students in the Lower School will receive aid. Additionally, the Parent Association raises money for a Lower School Diversity Scholarship and a Hardship fund for the Infant & Toddler and Preschool programs.