Every lower school grade at Wissahickon, studies an environmental course of study focused on a theme. Examples include "Our Natural Community" in Kindergarten and "Water and Land" in Fourth Grade. Throughout the year, students learn more about the topic both in their class and/or in Discovery class. Each class chooses a service project to implement focused on their theme. Wissahickon students learn at an early age that they can impact the world they inhabit. Our student-written motto is, "We take care of the Earth that takes care of us."
Discovery Class is a weekly class focused on nature and the environment led by an Environmental Educator. Discovery is an interdisciplinary class. While the topic and theme are always tied to the environment, students find themselves doing math, reading, writing, social science, and science in this special class. Our goal is to connect students with the Earth, so they will become its stewards as they grow.
All students at Wissahickon are outside every day for thirty minutes of recess unless extreme weather makes it impossible. We value this time outside in every season where students can explore and play in our playgrounds or in nearby Fernhill Park (Fernhill campus's namesake).
Students go on many environmental field trips at Wissahickon, both to increase their personal exposure to nature and to extend their learning through real world experiences. WCS offers an Outdoor Program for students in fourth through eighth grades which takes students further afield, increasing both their comfort level and skill level in nature. In fourth grade students learn about water by taking regular trips to local ponds and streams. They do water monitoring in a variety of ways and work to remove invasive water plants. Fifth graders experience cabin camping on a local overnight trip. Sixth and seventh graders go backpacking and tent camping. Eighth graders work with Outward Bound to complete a weeklong Wilderness Expedition! These experiences in nature have a long term impact on students's relationships with one another, sense of self-worth, work-ethic, and more.
Both campuses boast bee hives with student apiarists (beekeepers) who tend to the hives and harvest the honey. Creating more hives for bees locally means we have more bees pollinating plants --so the impact goes well beyond the delicious honey the hives yield!
We walk the walk. As you visit Wissahickon, you will see students eating off of real non-disposable plates, recycling and compost bins in the hallways and cafeteria, and earth friendly cleaning products being used. As we make decisions in school we reflect on our mission and think about how our choices impact the earth.