Project-Based Learning and Collaboration
Wildwood recognizes that each student has his or her own unique methods of learning and varying levels of skill and curiosity. This is why project-based learning, an approach that allows students to delve deeply into course material and merge it with their own interests, is the center of a Wildwood education. Through projects, students connect new knowledge with what they already know. They develop higher-order thinking skills—the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize—that are crucial for success in college and beyond.
We believe that supporting students as they make connections is vital to a nuanced understanding of the way our world works. For example, interdisciplinary humanities classes layer project-based learning with a scope and sequence combining English, literature, and history lessons. In mathematics and science, students tackle problem sets and reasoning, using the ever-changing tools of technology in context. All courses acknowledge a world increasingly driven by innovation. With each project, students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle new areas of learning with confidence.
Emphasis on Collaboration
Collaboration is crucial in creating the kind of learning community that allows students to take intellectual and artistic risks. We believe it is essential to success in life, in work, and in relationships.
Team-based projects and robust group discussions promote not only critical thinking but also a deeper understanding of group members and oneself, fostering the ability to accept and give assistance. Among Wildwood’s core values, demonstrating well-developed collaboration skills—the capacity to use positive engagement and sensitivity within the group and to establish creative and cooperative peer partnerships—are evaluated as students progress through their Wildwood years.
Interdisciplinary classes model real-world work, insisting on the relationships between topics like the blues and 20th century American literature, or systems for cleaning one’s room and systems for cleaning one’s neighborhood. Employing planning and organizational skills and graphic design, students might learn to build websites to support their creative writing projects in a humanities class or reinforce algebraic concepts in mapping pathways for robots they construct using geometry, physics, and 3-D building skills. In all cases, learning is never disconnected or discrete but rather connected, vibrant, and meaningful, crossing subject matter through units of study and projects.
The Art of Inquiry
The art of inquiry starts from a belief that the world is a fascinating place. Units of study in all subject areas begin with an essential question that frames the topic and promotes deep critical thinking. Students are taught to explore, examine, and ask big questions. From cell biology in the garden to urban planning using the landscape of Los Angeles as inspiration, Wildwood students seek and create meaning in the world around them.