Two girls smile


Growing Lifelong Learners Since 1972

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply and what are the application requirements?
The admissions process at Wingra mainly involves gathering information about applicants from parents and past or current teachers. Requirements for admission include: a completed student application form, a completed teacher comment form, a student visit to the school, and $100 application fee. Read more about the application and requirements.

What are the application deadlines?
Applications are reviewed in the order they are received. If space is available, a child may be admitted to Wingra School at any time during the school year. Read more.

Are there school tours or open house events available?
Yes. Tours can be scheduled by calling the office at (608) 238-2525. We host two open houses each year, one in December and one in January. Read more.

How are admissions decisions made?
At Wingra School we believe that learning is a lifelong process that is engaged in by each person in a unique way. We believe that individual learning is enhanced when it occurs in a cooperative and caring context. We believe that the lives of children are enriched when they learn within a diverse community that recognizes and appreciates differences among people. We do not use any form of testing in our admissions process. Read more.

When will I find out if my child is accepted?
Contracts are offered to returning families in February. New families are offered contracts at this time on a space-available basis or are put on a waiting list if space is not available.

How many students are accepted into each level?
A maximum of 24 students are in each classroom. We maintain a low student to teacher ratio (approximately 11:1), and often a student teacher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or Edgewood College is also in the classroom.

Is Wingra a good choice for my family?
Wingra appeals to parents who want their kids to be excited about school and learning. Our families have a high regard for education; many parents themselves are educators. Parents who choose Wingra are oftentimes self-starters, good thinkers, and involved community members—people who think off the page and are willing to explore alternatives. Read more.

How do you work with children who have special learning needs?
We recognize the benefits of bringing together diverse groups of learners and do not use any form of testing in our admissions process. Most students who apply to Wingra are offered enrollment.

However, as a small school with a cooperative community focus, we do recognize certain limitations when considering students for enrollment. Wingra does not employ specialists to serve children with exceptional educational needs. While the training and dedication of our staff allows us to teach a variety of children, some with significant learning differences, we reserve the right to determine that an applying child would be better served in a setting where specialized interventions are offered as part of the school program.

What kind of diversity among students do you have?
Our families are diverse in family structure, sexual orientation, religion, age, and educational backgrounds. Our ethnic diversity reflects that of Dane County. We continually strive to increase our socio-economic diversity through tuition assistance. We are committed to attracting students and staff of varied backgrounds, and our classrooms draw strength from a positive recognition and appreciation of diversity.

Is child care available before and after school?
An Extended Day program is offered by Wingra each day after school between dismissal and 5:45pm. We also offer Early Care beginning at 7:45am until our school day begins at 8:30am

Do you have extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities and enrichment opportunities are offered when there is student and parent interest.

Do you have a sports program?
Wingra does not have its own sports program, although Wingra students are active in Madison area sports leagues, such as the Madison Area Youth Soccer Association and the YMCA sports leagues. Since teams are formed with children from the same school, Wingra friends often play on teams together.

Tuition and Financial Assistance

What are the tuition and fees?
Wingra offers three payment-plan options to better accommodate the range of economic resources available to our families. The monthly payment plan allows for an easier monthly payment schedule at a slightly higher cost. The annual payment plan provides a discount for families able to pay the entire tuition at the beginning of the year. Read more about payment plans and tuition fees.

Do you offer scholarships or financial aid?
Yes. Please read more about Wingra's tuition and financing options.

Do you have a discount for tuition for families with more than one child?
No. Families pay full tuition for each child.

Daily Life

What is the maximum number of students in each class? What is the teacher/student ratio in the classrooms?
A maximum of 24 students are in each classroom. We maintain a low student to teacher ratio (approximately 12:1), and often a student teacher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or Edgewood College is also in the classroom.

What are the school hours?
Arrival time is from 8:30 to 8:45 daily. Dismissal time is 2:00 p.m. on Mondays and 3:15 the rest of the week. An Extended Day program is offered by Wingra each afternoon between dismissal and 5:45 p.m.

What is a typical day like?
The Wingra school day has a flow that children come to know and expect. Read more about a typical day at Wingra school.

Will my child go on field trips?
Field trips and community involvement are an important part of our curriculum. We select trips that are age-appropriate, relevant to the curriculum, and inexpensive. Most classrooms visit the Madison Public Library each month. Many trips are taken by city bus (the school is on the bus line).

How long is lunch time? Do you have a hot lunch program?
All Wingra School students eat together. The younger classrooms come in from recess at 12:15, and settle into the lunch period before the older children arrive at 12:25. The lunch period ends at 12:45. Traditionally, Thursday is Pizza Day, delivered by Glass Nickel Pizza. Friday is Hot Lunch Day, cooked up at Metcalfe's Cafe and served by Wingra School parents. All other days, children bring their lunch from home.

Will my child have recess?
Yes, Wingra kids play outdoors one-two times every day. Most mornings there is time set aside for physical activity, skill-building and team-building activities. Before lunch, there is an all-school recess from 11:45-12:25. In the winter, we go out unless the wind chill is –10° F or colder. On snowy winter days, we often sled on the front playground.

How do you provide for the safety of Wingra students? What is your policy towards physical violence, aggression, and name-calling?
We are committed to straightforward, direct communication, social problem solving, and conflict resolution and do not tolerate provoking or abusive language or behaviors. Starting in the youngest classrooms, children are taught how to resolve conflicts non-violently and with dignity.

Will my child have flexibility of movement, free time?
Daily life in Wingra classrooms reflects a respect for a child's need to move, converse, and be active. Wingra School has recess before lunch, to allow children to expel energy and build an appetite for their meal. Much of the school day includes work times during which children can move and make choices.

Can parents help in the classroom?
Yes, parents are welcome at the school and give of their time, energy, and skills. Parents provide snacks and occasionally go along on field trips or assist in the classroom.

Wingra School's Curriculum

What do you mean by "progressive education"?
Progressive education provides rich learning experiences centered around the real lives of children. Individual instruction is emphasized, and there is informality in the classroom. The curriculum is broad, integrated, and built around the interests of the children.

Several pages on this website explain more about progressive education. We think the description of progressive education in the chart showing the differences between traditional and progressive education is a good description of the approach that teachers strive for at Wingra School. See also "our approach" and "teaching with themes."

Do you teach a foreign language?
Yes, Spanish is part of the curriculum for all ages.

Do you have separate teachers for Art, Music, Spanish and Physical Education?
Yes, all classrooms participate in art, music, Spanish, and Health & Wellness (physical education) classes each week. Read more about Wingra's art and music program on this website.

Will my child receive computer instruction? 
Yes. The library and technology program at Wingra is very strong and is designed to complement and enrich the classroom thematic units. Each classroom at Wingra has several computers available to its students. Read more about the library and technology program at Wingra.

What can I expect my child to learn at each grade level? How is reading taught here? How is math taught?
To learn more about how Wingra teachers approach these subject areas, follow the subject links on the descriptions by subject page.

If individual children are reading or doing math at higher or lower levels than their peers, how will their needs be accommodated?
We firmly believe that children best acquire skills when they are developmentally ready to do so. Therefore, instruction at Wingra is constructed to suit the needs and strengths of individual learners. Each Wingra classroom is staffed with 2 certified teachers, which gives our teachers the opportunity to plan and deliver engaging and developmentally appropriate instruction for each class.

If you don't give grades or do standardized testing, how are children evaluated at Wingra?
Student progress at Wingra is assessed in a way that gives a complete review of the growing child as a learner. Read more about our assessment process.