Opal School Blog

Nov
16

Fear can’t survive proximity

What happens when fear drives our actions – and how can we interrupt it? This is a story about four-year old Mason. He is a passionate person, full of ideas, questions, and working theories of the world that he readily shares with his community. He has a generous heart with everyone and his perspectives of […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Nov
06

Political Work

Last week’s retreat focused on developing learning communities characterized by courage and collaboration. During the brief days of the workshop, we were rocked by the story of pipe bombs sent to many public figures and terrorist killings in a Louisville grocery store and a Pittsburgh synagogue.  These stories entered into our session – just like the […]

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Nov
01

Working Within Our Intentions

At the beginning of this year, we posted the intentions letter that we craft to focus our attention, activate our eyes and ears as the children play with new ideas, and offer opportunities insights towards next steps. As a teaching team, we worked to craft a big question that will serve us through our journey.  Taking […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
30

Practicing strength by being vulnerable

Maintaining connection while feeling big emotions is something that we work hard on and practice a lot at this school. We want children to experience discomfort so they can practice being vulnerable and taking chances. When placing their idea into the world, like Bella did when she asked “are you still my friend?,  the children trust […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
24

Play, school, and the future of jobs

As much as I find good reason to treat anything that comes out of Davos with a measured dose of skepticism – and as resistant as I am to describe the function of schools as a workforce delivery mechanism – I find the periodic Future of Jobs Report to be provocative.  As the World Economic […]

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Oct
23

Unpacking Compassion

“Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action.” – Lori Chandler My colleagues and I […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
10

What does our community need?

Every new year is a new beginning.  Each time a group of students and teachers come together in September, they become a learning community. What that looks like, feels like, and sounds like depends on the specific children and teachers that make up that learning community.  No two communities are exactly the same because they […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
07

Participating Together

One of Opal School’s Values guiding all of our decisions is, A belief in the rights of children, families and educators to participate together in forming and shaping rich environments of learning, challenge and choice. I began my 11th year teaching at Opal School this year, so I have spent over a decade practicing this […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
05

Finding stories; finding each other

About once a week in the Alder community of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds, we split the group in two, carefully considering friendships we want to support or stretch. We affectionately call this structure “half-sies.” The smaller groups  give each person (children and adults) a chance to see, hear, and know one another in new ways. […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
04

A call for truth and reconciliation

Yesterday, we held one of our monthly Online Subscriber meet-ups.  Susan and I were joined by Monica Martens, a teacher from Manitoba. She described how she finds the big ideas in Opal School’s resources to be in sync with the way in which Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation work has demanded whole-hearted learning between and amongst children […]

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