Watkinson has been a school that has literally changed my child's life. Our daughter had a soul-crushing experience in the public elementary school--supposedly one of the best districts in Connecticut. She had a very large gap between her verbal/reading skills and math skills and no one seemed to pick up on it. What a refreshing change to have a school that not only "gets" my daughter but celebrates and finds opportunities for her to demonstrate mastery of learning vs. taking and preparing for mind-numbing standardized tests. The teachers and administration are superb, caring, committed, bright, and responsive. The small student body does pose some problems (you better be able to get along with people....) but it also affords deep friendships and support to develop. The food is tremendous with a focus on locally sourced products--some grown and gathered from the garden. If you equate academic success with hours and hours of homework and high standardized test scores, this isn't the place for your child. If, however, you believe in "going deep" and finding evaluation and testing methods that demonstrate real depth of understanding, you should check out Watkinson.
We have two children who attend Watkinson. Each one has their own style of learning, studying, social experiences and interests. The Watkinson faculty and staff create an environment which allows them to grow and become the person they are meant to be. We have lots of options in our area and truly found the best one for our family!
I am a senior at watkinson and I have had my ups and downs with the school. Sure, I have faced challenges making friends and with a few of the teachers, but to be honest, most of my problems at watkinson were my fault. Once i decided to break out of my shell, I met the most wonderful people imaginable. My advisor is the closest thing to a father I have ever had and my basketball coach is always there to push me. I made my closest friends at watkinson and will be extremely sad to leave this all behind in June, even though I know I will always have connection to the school. Being at Watkinson has given me a glimpse of what it is like to truly be loved by pretty much everyone around you. All the teachers know me and I know all of them, same with the kids. Watkinson is what you make of it. Dont listen to the negatives, and be wary of the positives. Just remember: Watkinson is what you make of it. i just know ill forever be in debt to the faculty at Watkinson for placing me on the right path to happiness and success--JMC
As an alumnus from the 1970's who can both look back with reflection, as well as assess the school as a current supporter and as a parent (in another area) my still unchanged view about this school/community is that it is very much organized, to an unusual extent, around the student--and is very progressive in this regard. Watkinson has a very enlightened view of young adults and is somewhat "libertarian" in its relationship to the student body. It is especially, although by no means exclusively, organized very strongly for students in the creative or performing arts (music, dance, theatre, studio art) and its long-standing affiliation with the Hartt College of Music, for example, one of the finest such colleges in the country, is very unique. The school administration and leadership are utterly devoted to their community, mission and success and Watkinson has evolved smartly over the decades. This is really a luxury institution, in the highest sense of that word, and while I live in the midwest and Watkinson is not an option for my kids, I often ruminate about moving to Bloomfield Avenue and parking myself and the family there so they could go!
Watkinson's mission is "Giving students the power to shape their lives and world around them." They live this mission everyday by guiding students, teaching them, and learning from them. By showing the students respect in the course of learning, they model the power of interactive learning opportunities. Watkinson's curriculum is given strength by their philosophy of self-discovery and respect for all.
This is my first year at Watkinson. I have not totally enjoyed the experience so far. Coming from a public school, i have had probably triple the amount of homework. I almost don't have a life outside of school. i get home so late now (5:15pm- glastonbury bus) and have commitments which i cannot get out of after that. Weekends have been swamped with a project every weekend. yes. Every weekend so far I have had a project to do. There goes my social life. The kids have not been the nicest either. I wore a sweater and the second i walked into my class 3 kids commented on how ugly it was. rude?
Watkinson is an exceptional school. Every student is accepted and valued as an individual. We have watched our child blossom in just a few short months, academically, socially and emotionally. Worth every penny of tuition and every mile of the commute.
I moved to Watkinson after being at one of the many conservative, uncaring, and conformist schools in Connecticut. Like any school, Watkinson has a few problems. But have never met such a welcoming group of people. The classes are interesting and there is encouragement by not only teachers, but students, to be creative. It is so radically and amazingly different from any other place that it seems strange at first, but there is no place I'd rather be.
I'm a student at Watkinson now and coming from a nearby prep school, I could not enjoy it more. My teachers are both adaptive to learning styles yet firm in their curriculum. I do believe I'm getting a quality of education that exceeds some of the larger, more publicized private schools. I have high standards for myself and my capacity of learning and i can safely say that Watkinson has given me the challenges and flexibility that I need to grow and expand as a student and as a growing person. I wholeheartedly can say that I along with many of my peers feel that we are given opportunites here that are simply not offered anywhere else. i feel as though I am indebted to Watkinson for allowing me to perform as I have.