A Visit to the Wilson Foundation Academy

Melissa T15 The Wilson Foundation Academy was founded in 2004 as an extension to Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School. This beautiful school is in the Genesee-Jefferson neighborhood of the city of Rochester.  The original vision was to have a community of academic excellence, grades 7-12.  That vision has expanded to a K-12 model.

Assistant Principal Julie Roselli states “We focus our instructional program on the three fundamental concepts of the International Baccalaureate: holistic and inquiry-based learning, cultural awareness, and communication.”Melissa T14

In 2012, a group of dedicated community advocates partnered with the Wilson Foundation Academy to develop a “Play” Module. They were instructed to recognize the ‘power’ of play and the role it has in the development of the whole child. Their participation with the students was used to make connections between play and a child’s self-esteem, understanding of relationships, awareness of cause and effect, social skill development, language acquisition, and emotional stability.

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As taken from an article published in Pediatrics in January 2012, “… children who live in poverty often face socioeconomic obstacles that impede their rights to have playtime, thus affecting their healthy social-emotional development. For children who are under-resourced to reach their highest potential, it is essential that parents, educators, and pediatricians recognize the importance of lifelong benefits that children gain from ‘play.’”

During a 90 minute play session with a 6th grade class, activities may include:

1)      Holding a contest to see who can design the tallest freestanding structure with paper and tape

2)      The “egg drop”:  Having the kids design and build coverings for eggs and then throw the eggs off the roof. Melissa T11

This past academic year, the group of community advocates have been visiting Kindergarten classrooms to engage in ‘pretend play’ with students in order to facilitate social skill, language, and emotional development. They have also assisted in small group activities outlined by the classroom teacher and organized activities that address healthy living (eating the right foods, exercise, caring for our bodies, etc.)



The intention of this partnership is to help instill in these children the sense of originality and wonderment that is so important to childhood development.


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