Primary

Jan
10

A Room Full of Information

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. When I talk about pictures in my mind I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges…You just lie low and let them develop. You stay […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
27

Scared and Brave at the Same Time

This year, in the Primary Group, we are thinking deeper into the idea of “self.”  As stated in our Letter of Intention to parents at the beginning of the year, we are particularly curious about the children’s growing understanding of themselves.  We believe understanding of self is foundational to all relationships – relationship to one another, to the environment, […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
07

The Possibilities of Loose Parts

When you enter the classrooms of Opal School you will be met with familiar materials that you might expect to see in a lot of Early Childhood and Primary classrooms.  You will most likely see blocks for building, colored pencils and markers for drawing, tempera paint and watercolors for painting, and costumes and dishes for dramatic play […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
29

Seeing Ourselves in Clay

As you know from our recent blog post that included our letter of intention to families, the Primary Community is focusing on research into the “self” this year. As an artist and educator who works with materials, I know that thinking about oneself involves paying attention to ourselves, asking questions, and even deconstructing ourselves in […]

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Sep
26

The Expectation of Kindergarteners

September, for teachers, is a time for new.  It is a time where things begin and a new start is planned, imagined and anticipated.  For me, as a teacher of kindergartners, September can be a time when the anticipation of a new school year fills my head during all parts of my day with a […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
13

Launching Story Workshop

Story Workshop is a classroom structure designed to support language, literacy and the arts.  It is a time of the day where children within the Primary Group explore their capacity as authors, and this can happen as they are offered a multitude of invitations and materials to play and work with.  During this literacy structure, […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
10

Articulating our intentions

Opal School has two primary classrooms, Maple and Magnolia, which include kindergartners, first graders, and second graders.  The teachers from the two classrooms function as a team.  As a first collaborative effort, the Primary Team composed and sent this letter to parents before the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.  We’d love to hear the reflections of Opal […]

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May
10

In This Tree Lives Hope

In the Magnolia Classroom community, the children have been focused on developing and learning to appreciate their connection to the natural world. They are practicing strategies for empathy and growing awareness of the reciprocal relationship that exists between nature and themselves. The story captured below is a window into this process. One misty February morning, the Magnolia students […]

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Mar
10

Listening to children listening to trees

As we aim to create a school founded in a strong image of the child, we need to constantly consider our image of childhood and its relationship to adulthood.  What might it mean to create curriculum based around the unique gifts of childhood?  How can we embrace children’s capacity to see beyond the limits of the […]

By Kathryn Ann Myers | Primary
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Jan
25

It Starts with a Seed

As teacher-researchers, we feel strongly about nurturing children’s connection to nature through playing, making, and sharing. Stories are one way we play and share with one another, seeking understanding and connection, and further developing empathy.  How might we, through playful inquiry, consider the stories that nature has to tell?  What stories might we uncover within […]

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