Laying a Foundation for Lifetime Learning
With a commitment to small class sizes along with the amenities of a large school, Watkins is a safe, challenging, and engaging learning environment for 540 first through fifth grade students.
Watkins develops well-rounded students who work collaboratively and recognize their role as members of a larger community. With a curriculum focused on non-fiction writing, critical thinking skills, and conceptual math, teachers emphasize the application of numeracy and literacy to real-world situations, use multiple methods to teach each skill, and encourage students to explain and discuss their approach to solving problems. Six special subjects – art, music, computer, library, guidance, and physical education – reinforce and enhance the academic curriculum.
Reading and Math Buddies
Capitalizing on our Pre-K through 8th grade learning community, older students partner with younger students as Reading and Math Buddies. These relationships provide younger students with academic support and positive role models while older students gain a sense of responsibility and commitment to their community.
A Positive Environment
Watkins employs Responsive Classroom, a research-based approach to education that encourages cooperation, empathy, responsibility, self- control, and collaborative problem solving. Daily recess is supervised by teacherson a brand-new playground complete with a nature play area and climbing wall. A new turf field, basketball courts, and roller/ice rink provides additional space for play.
FoodPrints, Gardens, and Food Lab
The Watkins campus is home to the largest and most beautiful schoolyard garden in DCPS, with 20 themed gardens that support lessons across the curriculum. First, third and fourth graders participate in the innovative FoodPrints classes in which garden activities such as planting, harvesting, and cooking are used to teach concepts in science, math, social studies, physical education, and writing. Watkins boasts a brand-new Food Lab thanks to the generosity of over 470 individual donors who contributed a total of $60,000 to make the dream of a teaching kitchen a reality.
Arts Integration in Action
One example of arts integration at Watkins is the Young Playwrights Theater In-School Playwriting Program, which recently received a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Fourth-grade students explore playwriting, revision, and performance with professional playwrights, actors, directors, and teaching artists. Students learn the importance of language structure, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary choice as a means of clearly communicating their own thoughts to the world around them. During a series of standards-based, in-class workshops, students explore the mechanics of language, drama, and self-expression, culminating in the creation of their own original play.