Wakefield School is an independent, college-preparatory day school with a primary mission to provide a rigorous liberal arts education that trains the intellect while fostering self-discipline, independence, creativity and curiosity. Classes range from junior-K through grade 12.
“Wakefield School offers a unique combination of the classical liberal arts education and progressive learning,” said headmaster David Colón. “We have an intentionally-small community that gives us the opportunity to teach responsively in a very real setting, and make a conscious effort toward learning through doing.”
“Learning in action helps kids understand why they would do something,” he continued. “If you’re trying to teach a child about baseball, you wouldn’t just hand them the bat and say ‘Swing the stick.’ You want to show them why it’s important. The challenge is how do we do that?”
One way is to ask “How can you make a difference in this world?” The middle school took up this challenge and students created an environmental awareness program to plant trees and create an outdoor classroom. “Kids develop confidence because they are rooted and yet have opportunities to go out and try in a safe space.”
Wakefield School has a unique and robust global education program as well. Students journeyed to Namibia to work with a cheetah conservation program, India for a social work initiative, Gettysburg to experience history, and this fall, art students will travel to China to document their trip through painting, video, photography and writing.
“This approach of learning in action gives a different perspective and inspires students to go farther than traditional classroom learning where you learn to jump through hoops to get your degree and then a job,” Colón said. “We offer real-life experiences that allow kids to imagine what their life would be like. We want each child to lead an extraordinary life in his or her own way.”
With all the emphasis on STEM learning, one might ask why a liberal arts education is important. “We have a great program in the STEM fields, but the bigger issue is what are you going to do with it? Even the Silicon Valley companies want people with a liberal arts background who understand technology. Our programs include technology, and teachers show kids how to use it as a creative tool.”
In the hamlet of The Plains, Virginia, the Wakefield School is the largest organization in town. It opened as the Wakefield Country Day School in Huntly, VA in 1972, and moved to the 64-acre The Plains campus in 1996. In addition to its educational curriculum, it offers arts, athletics, AP, summer enrichment experiences, clubs, and local volunteer opportunities. Approximately 330 male and female students are enrolled, in small class sizes, and the school holds a 100% college acceptance rate.
Summer Day Camps
Wakefield School’s Summer Camp program offers a diverse list of week-long day camps with a mix of academic, science, performing arts, visual arts and sports, and several partner camps including Verdun Adventure Bound and Beverly Equestrian Center. Day camps run June 20 through July 29.
4439 Old Tavern Road
The Plains, VA 20198
AUTHOR: Linda Barrett is a freelance feature writer and owner of All the Buzz, a corporate copywriting firm, www.allthebuzz.net.