Frequently Asked Questions


Who attends Willowwind School?

The community of Willowwind is a cross-section of the world. We have families traveling to Willowwind each day from twelve (12) different zip codes. Some of our families have recently relocated to Iowa City from India, Germany, Brazil, Africa, and many other parts of the globe.  Willowwind students are the children of parents who recognize the value of both knowledge and value based education. In essence, Willowwind parents want their children to be able to advocate not only for themselves, but also for the good of others.


Why should I spend money on tuition for an independent education when my child can attend our local public school for free?

Children at Willowwind grow in an environment that gives volume to even the meekest voice, compassion to the most assertive child and wisdom to all. Children leave Willowwind not only understanding that there are big questions, but are equipped with the resources to seek important answers. At Willowwind, we believe that a strong early education that ensures a life-long love of learning is the most important educational investment a parent can make.  

Because of the large class sizes and the current academic limitations of area public schools, many children who transfer to Willowwind find a love of learning and a connection to community for the first time in their schooling experience.  


How does Willowwind educate children to be global citizens?

Our community is a virtual United Nations with children from all backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities. How better than in an intimate setting for our children to recognize the interdependence of all? 


How does Willowwind educate children to be responsible community members?

Willowwind provides an environment where mutual respect is not only taught; it is practiced each and every day. Willowwind curriculum is unique in that a very intentional focus is given to whole-child development. In developing both the IQ and EQ of all children equally, students are destined to become better members of their greater community.


Is Willowwind a Montessori School?

Yes and no. Our preschool is Montessori based. Preschool teachers are classically trained and certified Montessori instructors. While our elementary school follows many of the same principles extolled by Maria Montessori, the pedagogical and philosophical basis of our education program is founded on the principles set forth by Ernest Boyer and the Carnegie Foundation in their landmark work The Basic School. The principles of the Basic School and the Montessori method work together to support children in a school with a strong community, where curriculum asks big questions and follows the interests of the child, and where children are encouraged to develop independence as well as the virtues that sustain learning in community -- compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility, self-discipline, perseverance, and giving.  


Where do Willowwind students go after the 6th grade? How does Willowwind prepare them for this transition?

Willowwind students go to both public and private schools upon completion of the 6th grade. As experienced leaders in the community of learners, they are successful adapters in larger environments. The Willowwind experience has impressed upon them a sense of dignity and importance as well as an opportunity to develop both leadership skills and a sense of resiliency.

Our academics not only track core curriculum standards, but also provide evidence of achievement beyond levels of proficiency. As advocates of your child, Willowwind faculty and staff are invested in assuring that a child's success at Willowwind carries forward to their new learning environment.

Willowwind students are consistent high achievers at their future levels of education. Equipped with the essential skills for success, they go into the world with the confidence of their own convictions and the willingness to advocate for themselves and others.


Why does Willowwind's preschool run Monday through Friday?

A curious and engaged mind does not stop learning on days off. We view the Monday to Friday program as being an integral part of the learning process for a young mind. These are the critical years. The mind is fully engaged in acquiring an understanding of the world. Children thrive in a consistent environment, which allows them to expect to come to school each day and explore the learning environment so essential to their social, emotional, and academic development.


"I'm worried that our child won't have friends in the neighborhood if he attends Willowwind." What has been the experience of other Willowwind parents?

Willowwind children are fortunate to have not only the experience of their neighborhood friends but also a community where they encounter children outside their own immediate neighborhood. Most children who attend Willowwind also participate in clubs such as soccer, dance, music, baseball, as well as other recreational activities available in the community.

Because our children come from around the globe, they have the opportunity to learn from children whose background may be dissimilar to their own. 


Is there financial aid available to help offset tuition costs?

Willowwind offers financial aid for families of students in kindergarten through sixth grade.   Willowwind children greatly benefit from the cultural and socio-economic diversity in our school.  The school funds its financial aid program through the Iowa State Tuition Organization (STO).