Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

Opal School 2019 Summer Symposium

Opal School 2019 Summer Symposium

Every summer, hundreds of educators committed to recognizing, celebrating, and extending the creative and cognitive capacities of children join Opal School teacher-researchers and invited guests for three full days of renewal through synthesis, dialogue, materials exploration, and reflection.

Curious about the flow of the event? Take a look at the 2018 agenda.

Here’s a sampling of what last year’s participants had to say about the experience:

Every trip to Opal School is invaluable! This week I was especially pleased with the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences with materials, particularly the ones with which I feel the least comfortable. That is the value of working with Opal School! You folks invite teachers and children alike to dive into complexity and swim through it rather than floating on the surface and ignoring it or trying to simplify it from on high. I’m full on ready to get back to work even though I’ve only been on summer break for a week.

The more times I’ve attended, the more I get out of it! The more I understand, the more I internalize, the more I feel confident with what I’m learning. I see things I can do, more and more. THANK YOU!!! I’ll keep coming back for as long as I possibly can!!

This was just the thing I needed to reignite my fire for the work we do. I always leave this symposium with new ideas and goals for myself. I have found new ways to push myself in my practice outside of comfort zones.

This helped me to remember why I wanted to be an educator in the first place – because it has the power to change the world. I see so many new possibilities in my work, in ways that I hope will make learning and growth more long-lasting, meaningful, and authentic. I am thrilled with my new-found appreciation and ability to enjoy being in a state of provisional thinking.

Whenever I come, I find myself laughing, crying, questioning myself, my partners, and experiencing that full range of emotions. But I always leave with hope.

I am incredibly grateful to Opal School for being a model of creativity, innovation, and courageousness in the world of education… Your thinking pushes my thinking to new heights.

This was such a refreshing learning experience. I came here hoping to rediscover why I’m in teaching – through play and inventiveness. This is exactly what I needed.

I’ve gained a new way of thinking. Being vulnerable and not always knowing what to do next is hard but this has taught me the value of the unknown and the unanswerable.

I’m so glad to have been encouraged to attend. The passion, energy behind Opal School shows/demonstrates joy, social justice, and little humans who will change the world. Most important, every teacher-researcher is doing this every day. My brain is currently exploding with ideas.

This solidified the fact that inquiry-based teaching extends far beyond the classroom and is the foundation for creating the world of inventiveness, equity, collaboration, and empathy that we so wish to see… We will all bring the power of vulnerability and curiosity back into our lives inside and outside the classroom.

I keep returning because of the value – I always see, experience, feel, learn something new and valuable – to be used with my students, my staff, my administrators, my co-workers, our parents…

I am so excited to start school in the fall and apply so many of the things I’ve learned this week. This was the most valuable and meaningful educator workshop I’ve ever attended and I look forward to sharing it with all my coworkers.

I was feeling burnt out in my practice as an educator/researcher and this symposium was exactly what I needed. Even after 30 years in the field, I found myself invited to be a learner once again.

You created a very warm and caring environment which allowed us to be open and vulnerable.

You pushed us to be vulnerable in front of others, while grappling with big questions that have larger global implications. It would not have been as impactful if we were not being asked to open up to the people sitting around us.

It was inspiring to see so many people share the same goal of making our education system one that really cares about the child – to prepare them to be a citizen of the world – an inventor of the world.

This was invaluable to me. I feel like I finally have a framework to be with the children and support them on a more thoughtful and meaningful path of learning and thinking. I’m inspired and excited to dive into the tangle that this symposium has left me with. I can’t wait to explore.

As is true each and every time I visit Opal School, I have experienced a metamorphosis. I always leave my visit as something brand new! My experiences at Opal School always leave me feeling empowered to go back and fight for the rights of the children I work with.

May 26, 2017