democracy

Nov
23

Sharing Gratitude

On Friday morning, Opal School children, families, and teachers gathered together for our weekly school-wide gathering. This week, it was the Dogwood community of first and second grader’s turn to lead. They decided to spend that time sharing about what they are grateful for and then giving the audience a chance to do the same. […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Nov
06

Political Work

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 […]

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Oct
30

Practicing strength by being vulnerable

Maintaining connection while feeling big emotions is something that we work hard on and practice a lot at this school. We want children to experience discomfort so they can practice being vulnerable and taking chances. When placing their idea into the world, like Bella did when she asked “are you still my friend?,  the children trust […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
24

Play, school, and the future of jobs

As much as I find good reason to treat anything that comes out of Davos with a measured dose of skepticism – and as resistant as I am to describe the function of schools as a workforce delivery mechanism – I find the periodic Future of Jobs Report to be provocative.  As the World Economic […]

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Oct
23

Unpacking Compassion

“Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action.” – Lori Chandler My colleagues and I […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
04

A call for truth and reconciliation

Yesterday, we held one of our monthly Online Subscriber meet-ups.  Susan and I were joined by Monica Martens, a teacher from Manitoba. She described how she finds the big ideas in Opal School’s resources to be in sync with the way in which Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation work has demanded whole-hearted learning between and amongst children […]

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Apr
30

Confronting the disimagination machine

Friday, a frustrated colleague texted me this worksheet that a teacher in her school had given to the kindergarteners she works with on an “accountable walk” that day.  My colleague wrote, “This is what the testing craze has done. Kids can’t even go for a walk without a worksheet! At my school, a ‘failing’ one, […]

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Jan
26

Feeling Big

“The child is not a citizen of the future; he is a citizen from the very first moment of life and also the most important citizen because he represents and brings the ‘possible’…a bearer, here and now of rights, of values, of culture.” -Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning A […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Jan
17

Who teaches us how to live in democracy?

In his column this week, David Brooks writes, “this year, we’ve been so besieged by Donald Trump’s shriveled nature that we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like.” In response, he introduces us to John Stuart Mill, who he says “demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance […]

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Dec
04

Pedagogical approaches and their political implications

Opal School led professional development workshops in Vancouver, BC last week. They were rich opportunities to connect and develop new ideas with educators in a region that has been inspired and transformed by Opal School’s work. Our second day’s session focused on play, the arts, and education for democracy.  Before considering the role that play […]

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