Last week’s retreat focused on developing learning communities characterized by courage and collaboration.

During the brief days of the workshop, we were rocked by the story of pipe bombs sent to many public figures and terrorist killings in a Louisville grocery store and a Pittsburgh synagogue.  These stories entered into our session – just like the lines between what is happening inside and outside of our classrooms are thin.

Opal School’s work is political.

Its catalytic inspiration were the anti-fascist pre-primary municipal schools of Reggio Emilia, whose anti-fascist expression is based in a strong image of the child as competent and capable with fundamental rights to beauty, joy, and participation in civic life. That strong image of the child means a strong image of all humans – that we are all worthy of belonging and love, that community strength is a space where empathy and agency thrive.

Our commitment to dialogue and inquiry and holding uncertainty stands opposed to forces that demonize and simplify and spread antipathy.  As Aoife told us, play is an antidote to complacency.

To all who are feeling stretched in these trying days, we send courage and love.


  1. Thank you for this powerful and necessary post.

  2. Liz Harrington

    Thank you Matt! Well said. Sending courage and love back to you all at Opal School!

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