In this complicated and uncertain world, we believe school is where we learn to be human. And right now, more than ever, we need people who can listen with empathy and understanding, imagine multiple possibilities, communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, and see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.
One of our goals at Opal School is for students to develop strategies that contribute to the quality of their community. We hope to nurture our students to develop their distinct sense of self and belonging while respecting the rights and identities of others.
With this in mind, we have some hopes for the Beginning Community as all of us, children and adults, continue to build our understanding of what it means to be a citizen. We hope to cultivate courageous thinkers, collaborators, and changemakers. We want them to know, as we do, that their ideas and stories can change the world.
This year in Alder and Cedar, the big idea that children and adults will be co-researching is transformation related to self and others, the arts and sciences, and the natural world. When imagining possibilities for our curriculum, we look for a concept that offers multiple entry points and has the power to connect our learning community. We seek to frame these ideas in ways that are simple yet profound, include an element of surprise, and are open-ended, engaging and challenging.
We see play as a natural learning strategy and are curious how playful inquiry might support the children’s evolving theories about transformation. Some of the questions framing our work this year are:
How might the study of transformation influence the children’s and adults’ worldviews?
How might empathy and agency nurture a commitment to civic responsibility?
How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community?
How might the unique gifts of childhood support a community to find value in our differences?
How might we, the teachers and families, amplify the voices of the children and celebrate their stories throughout the city of Portland?
This is a snapshot of our intentions for the year, a sneak peek into what we’ve been thinking while preparing our classroom environments and reflecting on our school’s values. We will offer many windows into the children’s learning and growing ideas of transformation as we share stories, dialogue, and images on the blog. We look forward to playing with you around this idea, too.
- Intentions: The we that I am (Primary Community 2017)
- Intentions: Interdependency and Perspective-Taking (Intermediate Community 2017)
- A Sneak Peek Into Our Intentions (Beginning Community 2016)