Laying a Foundation for Lifetime Learning
Students attending the newly renovated Watkins campus will enjoy bright, updated classrooms, a new gym/cafeteria space, and an outdoor classroom, among other amenities. The school boasts small class sizes and provides 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. The curriculum focuses on non-fiction writing, critical thinking skills, and conceptual math. Teachers emphasize the application of numeracy and literacy to real-world situations, coach pupils through multiple approaches to learning new skills, and encourage the children to explain their approach to solving problems in order to foster deeper understanding and critical thinking skills. Special subjects – art, music, and physical education – complement and enhance the academic curriculum.
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 teachers and staff members on 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 and for Watkins’ athletic extracurriculars.
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. Every grade participates in the innovative FoodPrints classes, which engage students in planting, harvesting, and cooking lessons that also reinforce science, math, social studies, physical education, and writing skills.
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.