by Mark Harris
No Thanksgiving leftovers, here. The bounty of an Aerie program is shown through a menu of student interests which expand an appetite for individualized learning in Lower and Middle School divisions.
Among the largest Aerie clubs are Debate (43 kids, not counting the ones who only argue with their parents) and Model United Nations (107 students, at last count...) Latin is the largest Aerie academic offering, with a total of 42 kids taking classes at various levels. However, numbers alone don’t always tell a story, as curiosity and drive often lead Wheeler students down roads considerably less travelled. There are always lots of Upper School language soloists, of course. This fall independent study work is being done in Armenian, Italian, German, Russian, Modern Hebrew, Arabic, Advanced Chinese, American Sign Language, and Japanese. Outside of languages our students pursue quite an eclectic set of disciplines: Neuroscience, Marine Biology, Music Composition, Film History, Cosmology, Applied Mathematics, Comic Book Writing, and Music Theory, to name a few.
One of the fastest-growing pieces of the program over the last few years has been outside the Upper School. The numbers of Lower and Middle School students engaged in small-group projects has expanded rapidly. An 8th Grader’s work in Forensic Science grew from an interest in fingerprinting. A five-year commitment to Ancient Greek came from a 3rd Grader’s interest in mythology. We currently have younger students exploring playwriting, animation, astronomy, comic book creation, French, Polish, and sports talk radio, all outside the context of the regular curricular and electives offerings.
Lunchtime and recess “clubs” are proliferating, too. 3rd and 4th Grades have lunchtime Math clubs that meet once a week. Lower and Middle divisions have recently seen a History club option appear. The Hirsch-Alperin Design Innovate Build Lab features “open time” for drop-ins for Middle Schoolers at lunch and, for anyone in the community, Tuesdays after school.
216 Hope Street Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246 Phone: (401) 421-8100 FAX: (401) 751-7674
The Wheeler School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school for Nursery, Pre-K, K-Grade 12 serving Providence, RI, Greater Providence and Greater Boston. The Hamilton School welcomes Grades 1-8 with language-based learning differences.