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Signature Experiences


A beloved tradition at WMS, the UE Shakespeare plays not only introduce young students to the literature of the Elizabethan era, but also bolster confidence, flexibility and collaboration. Every year, each UE class performs a Shakespeare play, in its original form. See pictures from a recent production of “Macbeth.”

The UE Overnight takes advantage of the increasingly self-reliant and capable nature of UE students. The UE Overnight is an annual one-night trip to White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield where students take part in a range of education- and service-related activities. An opportunity to interact as a group outside of the classroom setting, this trip builds community, fosters independence and encourages responsibility. Students work together to plan and prepare two group meals, and are asked to take responsibility for packing and keeping track of their own things.

Residency & Cultural Fair
The UE curriculum includes a sustained and in-depth study of one of the world’s ancient cultures that begins with a week-long Residency and culminates in the Cultural Fair. This long-term project develops students’ ability to research and work independently, and refines their written and oral communication skills.  Working individually or in pairs, students choose a topic to further research outside of class. See pictures from the Ancient Greece Residency and from the Ancient Greece Cultural Fair.

Upper Elementary Cultural Thesis
The UE Cultural Thesis challenges 5th Years to synthesize knowledge from math, geography, culture, science, language and literature. Students are tasked with building an island with a self-sustaining civilization that encompasses all the “Needs of People” learned throughout their Montessori education. The physical characteristics are drawn from each student’s knowledge of geography and the study of world biomes in science.  The maps are calculated to scale relative to the longitude and latitude chosen, and the available area on the globe.  Written work reflects the geography, daily life, culture and government of the inhabitants along with a fictional “creation myth” or legend indicative to the culture/island.

Morning Outdoor Program
Meeting twice a week before school starts, Morning Outdoor Program is opportunity for students to begin their day exploring the woods around school, playing cooperative games and immersing themselves in the natural world. Morning play meets all year—in all types of weather—so that children learn to enjoy the outdoors in all types of conditions. Research shows that unstructured, outdoor play is essential for the growth and development of the brain, body and intellect.