Consulting

Feb
15

Getting the lights right for dancing

At Visitation Days, we explored this definition of Playful Inquiry with educators from across the United States and Canada – and we’ve been chewing on it here ever since.  There is so much to unpack, as every clause crawls with meaning, opening the door to vital (and complicated) questions: Who is this community? How is […]

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Jul
06

Finding the courage to think about utopia

I’m just beginning to put my thoughts together after the whirlwind of Opal School Summer Symposium.  It was a provocative, transformative three days together: 250 people coming together to pursue third doors that offer greater possibilities for all of our schools.  Tweets from participants, posted below, give you just a taste of what it felt […]

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May
24

All under one roof

To readers of Opal School Online, it might be easy to forget that Opal School is a project of the Portland Children’s Museum. To Portland Children’s Museum visitors, it’s not always visible that Opal School lives within it. It’s an unusual organization, doing so much under one roof – exhibits, programs, an elementary charter school, an […]

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Feb
14

Reflections on Opal School Visitation Days 2016

Two weeks ago, teachers and administrators from more than thirty schools across North America gathered at Opal School for our annual Visitation Days, dedicated to investigating conditions that support a “playful inquiry” approach to learning.  Over two-and-a-half days, this diverse group of participants investigated classroom environments, observed class in session, responded to presentations by Opal […]

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Jan
27

Creativity (on the edge of chaos)

This morning, Opal School students, families, teachers and friends gathered in the theater for the weekly gathering.  Opal 3 shared poems they’ve written, each revealing aspects of friendship.  After reading several entries, members of the class stood at the door with baskets filled with their poems – gifts for each member of the community to leave with. […]

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Oct
28

Maintaining a Strong Image of the Child

One of Opal School’s values is A powerful image of the young child as intelligent, creative, and capable with gifts and abilities that the world needs.  Loris Malaguzzi writes that your image of children is where teaching begins.

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Oct
21

The Teacher You Want to Be

Tomorrow, Heinemann publishes a new book.  The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning, and Teaching, is filled with essays by thinkers whose work has inspired ours at Opal School. With contributions from people like Sir Ken Robinson, Vicki Vinton, Heidi Mills, Peter Johnston, Ellin Oliver Keene, Katie Wood Ray, Matt Glover, Deborah […]

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Oct
21

Building Nests

There were nests, everywhere. Giant nests made of branches; smaller ones built of tinsel and string; tiny ones of clay and sticks. It started when one of the children discovered a nest outside and brought it into the classroom. One of the teachers was terrified – it played right into her deepest phobias regarding birds […]

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Aug
24

Remembering Symposium 2015

Today, Opal School staff returned to school.  For me, it’s been a very busy summer: I left the country just a few days after Symposium ended, traveled far and wide, and slept only a handful of nights at home in Portland.  Returning to school was my first opportunity to carefully read participants’ reflections on their […]

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Jun
10

Communities of Resistance – Where each member thrives

In a recent episode of This American Life, W. Kamau Bell struggles with how to talk to his young daughters about race and racism.  As he grapples with the question, he finds great meaning in UC Berkeley professor Nikki Jones’ conception of dividing America into “White Space” and “Black Space.”  Schools?  White Space. How can […]

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