A train analogy can be associated with Willow Springs Learning Center, due to its many additions and changes. As many educational needs have been identified, the school has created additions — unit by unit — that constitute the entire building.
The original Willow Springs School was organized in about 1844 as part of the Menomonee Falls District #6. According to the Waukesha County Museum records, the current building was constructed in 1926. Additions to the building were made in 1956, 1959 and 1964. The school was closed for 10 years due to declining enrollment and reopened in 1991 when enrollment began its upward trend. A 3,600-square-foot relocatable unit was added in 1993.
The 1998-99 school year was the last in which Willow Springs operated as a grades K-5 elementary school. Willow Springs Learning Center now houses the Hamilton School District’s optional half-day 4-year-old kindergarten program which began in the fall of 1999.
Research shows that 4-year-old kindergarten programs can have a positive impact for students and their families. Simply expanding the kindergarten program does not in itself provide the benefits for students. Instead, additional time allows the program to be restructured so that activities best facilitate children’s development.
The best experiences are “developmentally appropriate” — activities that fit the child’s stage of growth. Hamilton’s 4-year-old kindergarten program addresses academic needs of a traditional kindergarten curriculum at a more enriched and relaxed pace as well as providing more opportunities that support social and emotional growth.
Willow Springs fully maintains an active home and school relationship. Parents function as classroom assistants, snack providers and chaperones for field trips, among other vital roles.
Children in the 4-year-old kindergarten program are eligible for transportation — riding the same bus as elementary school-age children in their neighborhoods. The regular school bus picks up children and takes them to their neighborhood school. K4 students then take a shuttle to Willow Springs in time for the start of school.
Students are placed in either a morning (8:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.) or afternoon (12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.) session based on their home or daycare address. Families who register before May are notified of their session placement in May. Families who register after May will be notified shortly after they have completed the registration process. Should a family wish to switch sessions, they may make a written request to the principal after they receive their initial session placement notice. Willow Springs Learning Center also houses a private daycare provider, enabling parents to pay for daycare services for their children during the portion of the day when they are not participating in the kindergarten program. Daycare hours are 6:45 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information call (414) 357-1907.
At a glance
Student enrollment: 276
Total employees: 20
Certified staff: 12
School color: Yellow