Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about your educational philosophy?
Our educational philosophy is based on the premise that every child is differently wired, and therefore requires and deserves a learning environment that is tailored to his/her needs, strengths and passions. As such, our learning is holistic, highly individualized and differentiated, as enabled by our unique learning spaces and small student to teacher ratio (8:1).
Does WSS follow any standards?
Of course! However, we are a standards-influenced, not standards-based, school. In Literacy and Mathematics we are guided by the American Common Core Standards, while in Science we follow the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In the Early Years we follow the Australian Early Years Learning Framework
Which curriculum do you use?
We do not follow a set curriculum rigidly. Our teachers draw from a variety of sources and curricula, and create a tailored curriculum as guided by our termly theme, targeted learning outcomes and the interests of the students. Our curriculum is therefore essentially international and individualized.
What drives the unique learning that I can see at WSS?
Our long-term transformational learning goals for each student, not just academic progress, are what drive us every day! We want our students to:
BE – self-directed
BELONG – in community
BECOME – globally mindful
Our core tools to achieving such goals are through individualized instruction, thematic learning and social-emotional learning.
How far is WSS from Nairobi?
We’re only about 30 minutes from the Runda/Rosslyn/Gigiri area, and it’s a beautiful drive through green tea fields and against traffic!
I’ve heard you practice inclusive education. Does that mean WSS is a special needs school? What if I have a neurotypical child?
No, WSS is not a special needs school. At WSS inclusion means that ALL students, regardless of ability, race, language, religion, gender or socio-economic status are supported as best possible within the classroom. We want our classrooms to be representative of society at large through a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, and neurodiversity, and believe diversity brings about empathy. Inclusion guarantees that your child will enjoy individualized learning, no matter who they are!
Is WSS a Christian School?
No, WSS is not a Christian School. While WSS has a Christian heritage, this heritage compels us to foster and celebrate a diverse community of various faiths, cultures and backgrounds.
Where do students go after WSS? How do they cope in a ‘normal’ school setting?
Given our personalized learning approach, many of our students are generally working above traditional grade level (50-60% of our students are working above grade level in Literacy, and 40-50% are working above grade level in Mathematics). As a result, our alumni tend to transition very successfully to various international high schools (within Kenya and globally) of different systems (American, British, Kenya, etc). The biggest adjustment is generally the shift from an intimate, personal learning approach and a ‘school family’ into a big system where often ‘one-size-fits-all. If you’re interested, you can read about some of our Alumni Stories here.
How is a child’s progress assessed?
At WSS assessment is not the ultimate end goal of our learning. Assessment is used to inform instruction and give constructive feedback, rather than to ‘grade’ a student. Summative and formative assessments may thus take on various shapes and forms, and may differ from child to child. We are passionate and intentional about not only assessing academic growth, but tracking, reflecting and reporting on holistic growth, including cognitive skills and dispositions (social-emotional learning). While we do not have termly or annual exams, we do baseline reading-, writing-, and Math-assessments at grade level (aligned to international standards) to ensure that students are prepared for future schooling elsewhere.
You are situated on a beautiful campus, how do you utilize it in learning?
We are passionate about using our 40-acre indigenous forest and incredibly green campus to enhance learning. This includes daily forest walks, climbing trees, working in shambas (gardens) and continually developing unique outdoor learning spaces. Lessons often take place outside, while every week each student enjoys a Green Focus class as part of their schedule, focused entirely on environmental education.
How unstructured is WSS and how does that influence learning?
Sometimes WSS may appear unstructured (at least in comparison to a traditional school environment) due to the personalized approach and unique learning environments. These, however, are intentionally used to engage learners in a deep and meaningful way. Often students are working ‘ahead’ of where they would be in a typical school setting. We believe that academic rigour and hard work are crucial to a student’s holistic (including academic) growth.
What about sports and extra-curricular activities?
Sports and movement are key to holistic development, and students at WSS are very active (we start every school day with movement). Students have several sports lessons a week, and there are a host of extra-curricular activities to sign-up for after-school. We have termly inter-school sports fixtures, and each term include a unique school-sponsored activity (during school) to expose students to new skills and activities (e.g. aerial fitness, taekwando, dance, sign-language, upcycling, etc).