Integrated Projects Week, or IPW, is a hallmark of The School’s curriculum that occurs every spring. During IPW, students leave regular classrooms and come together as nearly 40 new groups, all of which encompass different classes and grades. For four days, these new groups pursue student-conceived and student-driven integrated projects that take them out of the building, onto Columbia University’s campus, into New York City, and beyond.
For example, an IPW group will explore a new section of Riverside Park every day, studying the park’s geology and botany, volunteering with park staff, and hiking the park. Another IPW group will examine social activism and the arts, hearing from visiting photographers and painters and learning how social movements and artists interact. A knitting group will study different types of yarn, traditional and modern needlework, and the history and culture of knitting. They will visit different yarn stores in the city, and throughout the week plan and complete a knitted or crocheted project from start to finish. Other groups will partner with Columbia University chemists to conduct lab experiments, and with Columbia athletes to look at sports and society.
These are only a sample of the wide array of IPW projects, which are reinvented every year and incorporate all of the eleven disciplines taught at The School. All projects culminate in a final IPW Showcase, open to all of The School’s families, where students present their projects and celebrate the week of focused work.
Marc Meyer, the inaugural director of The School’s curriculum, said in 2003: “These projects have proven to be wonderfully rich opportunities for students to reflect on what they have learned, apply newfound skills, and deepen their knowledge about a particular theme or concept already embedded in The School’s curriculum. Integrated Projects Week is more than an opportunity to deepen a child’s understanding of what he or she has been studying—it is a chance to build friendships, find new ways to work collaboratively, and make a difference in the community.”