An independent progressive school centrally-located in Madison, Wisconsin. Serving children ages five to fourteen.

No tests. No grades. Just learning.

Experiential Learning

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Multi-age Collaboration

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Integrated Units

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Authentic Assessment

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The Nest (Ages 5–7)



The Pond (Ages 7–9)



The Lake (Ages 9–11)



The Sky (Ages 11–14)



What Else Makes Wingra Special

Nestled between Wingra Park, the Arboretum, Children’s Glen, Madison Metropolitan Bus Lines, and the Southwest Bike Path, our location is ideal for immersing children in the outdoors and in the community. Wingra School sits on Ho-Chunk land and offers the following land acknowledgment:

We acknowledge that the land on which Wingra School sits is the rendering sacred and ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Known as Teejop, or DeJope, to the Ho-Chunk people, the Madison area and beyond holds a continuous connection to land, water, and community. This land was ceded under duress and without free, prior, informed consent in the Treaty of 1832, and the history of colonization remains pervasive. This acknowledgment is integral to a shared future of partnership and collaboration. The traditional knowledge embedded in the Ho-Chunk way of life is a source of inspiration to offer respect and care for all beings – of which land is included – for all time. 

Wingra educators are highly knowledgeable about child development and work to address the trends and challenges of modern childhood. They co-create developmentally appropriate curriculum with their teaching team and students, bringing their own creativity, insight, and love of learning into the classroom. Our teachers have a clear understanding of the progressive philosophy of the school and a strong commitment to it. Staff members collaborate and engage democratically to make decisions about most aspects of our program. Their dedication, expertise, and teamwork are what make progressive teaching practices possible at Wingra. 

Our practice is grounded in an understanding of how children grow, develop, and learn. We include active and interactive learning experiences, varied instructional strategies, a balance between teacher-directed and child-initiated activities, integrated curriculum, and learning centers. Students are children and it is important to allow ample time for laughter, play, discussion, quiet time, and snacks. Learning is not a race timed by age or a competition or defined by a finite skill set. Children learn on a continuum; they move from easier to more difficult concepts and from simple to more complex strategies at their own pace. Teachers help students understand how they learn and their own areas of strength, challenge, and opportunity. Students are taught to exercise their voice in their own learning process and to make choices, set goals, keep track of their progress, and reflect on their growth and learning.

School and classroom communities are carefully nurtured through attention to relationships and routines that promote feelings of safety and belonging. People at Wingra know each other and are known well. We teach students to be compassionate, supportive, and inclusive through an intentional social curriculum.

Parents and caregivers are seen as important partners in student learning. A continuous exchange of information is critical to keeping parents and caregivers informed and involved. Partnerships are enhanced and solidified due to the time spent together on behalf of the child, recognizing and supporting shared goals. Opportunities exist for parents and caregivers to be involved in many aspects of the school and program.

As an independent school we have the autonomy to design and implement the kind of program we know is best for children. Wingra’s founders’ original intent was not to create a new school but to demonstrate to the Madison school district a more child-centered, multi-age approach in the hopes that they would implement it within the public schools. To this day, we strive to connect with other educators, education leaders, and schools to inquire, visit, and gather information about each other’s programs to learn and grow together.

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