At Wishing Well Elementary School, we teach one academic year ahead in an enriched, gifted learning environment. We follow the Ontario Curriculum, and also integrate the curriculum of the UK, Alberta, Australia and the United States in to our teaching and learning. Our lessons are rigorously planned to ensure that we meet and exceed provincial teaching standards and fully challenge each child to reach their highest level. We believe in a student-centred teaching environment where students are at the heart of the learning process and act as investigators and problems solvers.
Math and Language Arts We have dedicated Math and Language Arts teachers from Grades 5 to 8. Students are provided with a minimum of 350 minutes of Math each week and a minimum of 500 Language Arts minutes each week. Most of our students graduate Grade 8 with the skills to succeed in advanced AP and IB programs across the GTA in public, Catholic and competitive private secondary schools. Our Math and Language Arts programs are far above grade level and do not focus only on skills, but thinking, problem solving and deep analysis. Students are also exposed to advanced media courses, with podcasting, film analysis, media literacy, news broadcasting, and film studies being taught as part of the Language Arts Curriculum.
Coding, Robotics, 3D Printing, Drones and Computer Science We begin teaching coding in Grade 1 with dedicated weekly lessons in coding. In order to make coding meaningful outside of the lesson time, students incorporate their knowledge of coding into robotic design and problem solving with a cross curricular, project/problem based approach. As students become more adept at coding, they are able to use a variety of coding languages. By Grade 6, students are regularly expected to use 3D printing in their projects and are required to code their print with knowledge, not with templates.
Design Thinking Wishing Well Schools strongly believes that empathy and global awareness are crucial to our students' success. We use Design Thinking to guide our cross curricular project based learning starting in Grade 1. Our students follow the Design Thinking process to solve real world problems, strengthening empathy, collaboration skills, critical thinking, and creativity. The design thinking process allows us to ensure that our students are using 21st century skills in the classroom.
21st Century Skills in the Classroom Wishing Well Schools values the tools of 21st century learning, including:
Critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, analysis, interpretation, synthesizing information
Research skills and practices, interrogative questioning
Creativity, artistry, curiosity, imagination, innovation, personal expression
History, Geography, Science, We teach the new Ontario Curriculum for History, Geography and Science and utilize a variety of resources to tap into the curriculum objectives. With out Project Based learning approach, students are not exposed to exclusively 'sit and get' lessons, but are required to investigate, experiment, and connect with the curriculum in order to more deeply understand its relevance to their lives.
French Students at Wishing Well Schools have French every day starting at the age of 3. We teach French every day and when our students graduate, they are fluent and usually reach the top of their class in Grade 9, often continuing with French throughout their high school years.
The Arts The arts hold equal value at Wishing Well Schools and we take the philosophy of the Scotland curriculum to heart. Music, Dance, Drama and Visual Arts are all integrated within the curriculum, and are also exclusively taught once a week. Our whole school Arts Festival and Winter pageant focus on the arts and students love this creative time to hone their artistic skills.
Physical Education We take our physical education very seriously at Wishing Well. Students have P.E. three times a week and every morning they have DPA to start the day. Our DPA is not your traditional, stretch behind the desk approach. We know that students and adults need 20 minutes of vigorous activity daily for optimal health and our teachers run gruelling boot camps, aerobics and game based DPA to start out our morning. Our students love their DPA and we have seen a dramatic increase in student engagement, focus and organization since starting our routine 6 years ago.
Standardized Testing - Why? When? We administer the CAT4 test in October for Grades 1 to 8. These test results provide us with a snapshot of how well our students achieve as compared to 60,000 other students across Canada, informing our teaching for more effective planning for the students in our classroom. We do not believe that standardized tests should be used as a stand alone measure of achievement, but as a tool to measure where a child may need additional enrichment or support. We test in October in order to effectively plan for the year. We also administer EQAO testing every year for our Grade 3 and 6 students and achieve excellent results.
Professional Development - Staying Relevant in a changing educational world Our teaching staff engage in regular professional development and have a strong Professional Learning Network both in and out of our school environment. Collaboration is the key to our planning success as we strive to integrate the most relevant and student-centred teaching practices into our daily lesson plans.