Our unique academic program allows our students to work at their own level and pace and provides a balance between independent study, one-on-one instruction, group classes, community building, and the freedom for students to explore their own interests. Four Winds teachers work with students to help build an individual course of study that suits their specific needs, as well as encouraging social justice, empathy, and social skills, and provide a flexible and open environment for students to learn and grow.


This individualized program is organized and implemented through the use of the biweekly system: Every two weeks, each student sets academic goals. During the two-week period, called a biweekly, teachers help students to meet their goals by helping “as little as possible and as much as necessary”.  At the end of the biweekly, students assess their progress and set adjusted goals for the next biweekly.


We start every day at Four Winds School by reading a poem and then doing 15 minutes of creative writing. During this time students may journal, record their dreams, make to-do lists, and write poetry, but most students choose to work on stories, which oftentimes end up spanning the course of weeks, months, or years! After working silently, students and teachers come together to share their stories and poems. (Students are never required to read aloud.)


During Academic Work Time every morning, students work through their biweekly goals in whatever order they so choose. However they go about it, students are responsible for completing their work by the end of every biweekly. Students learn the invaluable skills of time management and task allocation, all while building confidence and developing ownership over their work.


Students practice math as a larger discipline rather than a series of discrete skills. From the evaluation, each student is placed in a math program suited to their level of achievement. Math lessons incorporate drills with math facts and problem solving, as well as a continual review of previously learned concepts.


Learning Latin is a great foundation for English grammar and vocabulary, as well as learning other languages later in life, especially the Romance Languages which students typically study in high school.

Four Winds uses the Wordly Wise series to challenge and expand students’ vocabularies. These exercises allow students to practice vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and handwriting. We can also provide additional spelling support if needed.

Our goal is to help students gain an intrinsic love of reading, which is something that educators and parents alike have noticed a drop in ever since remote learning and the pandemic. In order to get students fired up about reading again, we’ve decreased the number of required historical fiction novels we read each year. Additionally, we are incorporating graphic novels into our required reading curriculum. Finally, we take two walking field trips to the Carnegie Public Library in nearby Turners Falls so students can select books on topics of their choosing.


After lunch on Mondays through Thursdays we have group Humanities or Science classes. In group classes, we typically start with a discussion and then do an activity or group work. Our Science and Humanities curricula run on the following three-year cycle:

Prehistory and Ancient Civilizations Life Science: Biology, Anatomy, & Psychology
Local History: Native People and European Colonization Earth Science: Geology & Meteorology
US History: 1750-the Present Physical Sciences: Physics & Chemistry

Formal Essay Writing

During Humanities class, students also continue their study of English Language Arts through essay writing. At Four Winds School, students learn how to write reading responses, research papers, and opinion pieces. After learning these skills in humanities class, students then go on to write a research paper in science class, as well.


We end most days with “project time”. During this time, students can work on visual art or other projects such as fiber arts, knitting, crocheting, practicing an instrument, graphic or digital art, reading, creative writing, strategy games such as chess, coding, or anything else that is creative, educational, and/or enriching. At the end of project time, students have a chance to share or show off what they created during this time before we head home for the day.

Additionally, we split and end each year with a large group “intersession” and involved individual “capstone” projects. Click the button below to learn more!

Intersession and Capstone


On Wednesdays, instead of having project time we work together in teams to clean the building! Students learn valuable cleaning skills as well as teamwork! This teaches students accountability and respect, because they know if they make a mess, they’ll be the ones to clean it up. This part of the day is usually pretty fun, and once students are done they have free time until they get picked up.


On the first Friday of the biweekly we focus on Social Emotional Learning. After Creative Writing time, students head to Mathtivity. Unlike a traditional math class, students explore math through hands-on activities.

The rest of the day is filled with hands-on workshops, activities, or field trips, such as:

  • Skills Workshop, in which students explore topics relating to our school and wider communities. Students develop skills for social interactions, emotional regulation, social justice, and/or study habits. They are also able to select topics for Skills Workshop discussions.
  • Book club, in which students explore and discuss the books they’ve chosen to read from the library.
  • “Fun Friday Activity,” which can include visitors sharing their expertise or activities with the class, visiting one of the many local museums or parks, going to nearby Barton’s Cove for a fun outing, or doing something together as a community, such as pumpkin carving!


After Academic Work Time on the second Friday of the biweekly, students who have completed their work have free time. Students who have not will continue working until 2:30, at which point we all meet together to self-reflect on what went well or didn’t go well from the previous biweekly and to set goals for the next one.

Students who still haven’t finished their biweekly work by the end of the day will have to complete it for homework, but that’s the only time that students have assigned homework. This helps to teach accountability and valuable time management skills. Parents will learn if their student has homework in the progress report that we send out every other Friday.


8:30 – 9:30 Poems & Writing
9:30 – 10:45 Academic Work Time Mathtivity AWT
10:45 – 11:00 BREAK
11:00 – 12:30 Academic Work Time Workshop(s) AWT
12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH
1:30 – 2:30 Humanities Science Humanities Science “Fun Friday Activity” Free time / work time
2:30 – 3:30 Project Time Project Time Cleaning Day Project Time (Field trips, etc.) Biweekly Writing