Over the years, certain classroom activities and school events have evolved into Wingra traditions. Wingra kids come to know and look forward to these traditions as a part of a particular classroom or as part of each school year.
Once a month on a Friday afternoon, each student can choose one or more activities from a wide variety that teachers and parent volunteers offer in each classroom. A favorite tradition of Wingra students, All-School Choice is fun and an opportunity for students of all ages to mix and become familiar with other classrooms.
All-School Picnic and Graduation
The entire Wingra community meets on the last day of school for a potluck picnic and graduation ceremony. Graduating eighth graders from the Sky (ages 11–14) are given the opportunity to reflect publicly on their Wingra experience and what they will take with them to high school. The Sky classroom teachers take turns presenting each student individually in a heartfelt introduction that touches everyone in the audience.
Each year Wingra teachers develop an all-school unit of study. The whole school explores the theme in all kinds of ways. For two weeks, classes mix, ages intermingle, and kids work collaboratively on projects or activities. Past units include Water, Change, Time, Bridges, Going Green, Science Camp, and Architecture.
At the beginning of each school year, Wingra teachers put considerable time and thought into pairing up older and younger students who then read, play, and learn together for a half an hour every Friday throughout the year. Youngers may enjoy being read to or choose to practice their reading out loud. If you walk through the school during Learning Partner time, you will see pairs of children with heads bent over books in every nook and cranny of the school.
Earth Day Stewardship
Each student chooses from a selection of Earth Day activities in the community led by Wingra teachers.
Friends and Family Day
Wingra School celebrates our students' community by inviting extended family members and friends to spend the morning at the school on the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holidays.
Wingra teachers draw frequently and extensively from resources beyond the walls of the school. Field trips and community involvement are important parts of the curriculum. Monthly visits to the downtown library, the "ropes course," American Players Theater, theater productions in Madison and Milwaukee, and museum and farm visits are some of the favorite trips taken each year.
One Friday each month, for the last hour of the day, the whole school gathers in the gym for Friday Follies. Classrooms take turns hosting Follies, in which individuals, small groups, or entire classrooms share music, skits, and projects. It's not a formal performance, but a time for everyone to be together and share some fun. Families are always welcome to attend Friday Follies, a classic Wingra tradition.
The name says it all. Fun Day is an end-of-year tradition for all Wingra students and their families. It's a fantastic day of outdoor games and activities such as a water slide, dunk take, bubbles, inflatable obstacle course, face painting, and more.
For their independent projects, students ages 7 to 14 choose a topic based on their own curiosity and interests, conduct research, create visual aids, develop written reports, and share their findings with classmates and families through oral presentations or classroom fairs. The process is structured to suit each age group.
On alternate Friday afternoons, students can choose a self-directed activity in their classroom: reading, art, quiet games, or a chance to catch up on classroom work.
Kids' Night Out
Each spring, members of the Lake and Sky classes (ages 9–14) celebrate Kids' Night Out, an evening of skits written, cast, directed, crewed, and performed by students.
Middle School Dance
This is a coming-of-age tradition at Wingra for the students in the Sky (ages 11–14).
Wingra teachers in the Lake (ages 9–11) and Sky (ages 11–14) classrooms organize overnight trips as an important community-building time. The Lake traditionally goes to beautiful Upham Woods, near Wisconsin Dells, in the fall. The Sky classes go camping in the spring.
Children in all classrooms at Wingra are taught to manage their time and set priorities by working on assignments over the entire week. Beginning in the Lake classrooms, plan sheets are introduced as a way for students to organize their work. Helping children learn time-management skills at a young age fosters independence and self-responsibility and is a unique feature of the school.
Managed and operated by Lake students, Wingra's school store is open each week in the lunchroom. Cooperative in spirit, competitive in price, and convenient in location, the store offers friendly service and wonderful learning opportunities for management, employees, and customers.
Wingra School Yearbook
Students from the Sky classrooms take charge of editing and producing the Wingra Duck, the annual school yearbook.
Older students sign up to help youngers with boots and snowpants during the long Wisconsin winters.