Life in a learning community is helped along by interests, ideas, and support of others. Social life is not snuffed out; it is nurtured and used to advance learning in the best way possible. Caring and interest of others breathes purpose and life into learning. Learning is social.
Ralph Peterson, Life in a Crowded Place
The first weeks of school are filled with freshness. Some children and families are new to the school, spending their first days at Opal School. Groups of children are blended into classrooms for the first time, or move to a new classroom. Some groups return to school intact, but are joined by a new teacher. As they come together, they create learning communities rich with possibility.
In the Early-Kindergarten room, one provocation is What happens when you work together to help these colors meet? A small group investigates, noticing that when you introduce colors to each other they become something new. Kimie suggests that the water and colors might be nervous meeting each other for the first time and asks what the children might say to comfort them. C says, "C'mon, Green! It'll be fun!"
In Opal 2, the class is talking about how they want to be together. O says, "When people do these fake little guns, it kind of – inside it makes me really really nervous." "That's important for us to know," Kerry responds. "Some people are really comfortable with that, and other people get really nervous."
In Opal 4, Levia prepares to hand out writer's notebooks to each student. She asks, What will your notebook be this year? Their list is long and includes:
A book for writing everything
A seed catcher – stories grow from it
A place where a spark starts and grows
A magnet that attracts ideas
A friend to talk to
The list recorded, the authors find corners of the room from which to discover – and soon share – their stories…
Each one of these children entered the year with a voice ready to sing out. Now, the voices come together. As the year begins, we're hearing new harmonies, never before produced.