Consulting

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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Apr
20

New ground for play and possibility

New territory for discovery and transformation This week, the new Opal School playground opens.  Over the coming days, weeks, months, and years, stories will be born there: children will discover new things about themselves, each other, and the world.  A land that previously didn’t exist will become the setting for cherished memories. Likewise, many stories […]

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Dec
12

Reflection: “New Possibilities for Readers”

Vicki Vinton reads with Opal School students at the workshop. In contrast to the structure we’ve followed in previous workshops, this year (2014-15) we decided to have individuals from outside of Opal School play a major role in the series.  We made this decision for a number of reasons: we thought it would illustrate relevant […]

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Oct
07

Why Story Workshop?

This week, the staff of Kairos Charter School spent a day at Opal School investigating Story Workshop.  They wondered how Story Workshop might support their mission of “cultivating confident creative compassionate leaders.” Story Workshop is an approach that has evolved as Opal School teachers and children in the early grades explore the question, What might […]

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Sep
29

A long journey to meet the masters of so what

Last week, Opal School hosted staff from Bromley School in Christchurch, New Zealand, for two days of classroom observations, presentations, and conversation.  Bromley is a Reggio-inspired public school primarily serving low income families. Teachers from across New Zealand visit it to extend their practices. Traveling 7300 miles is a significant investment in professional development.  What […]

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