guiding principles

Dec
17

Listening With Intention to Go Big

The weeks leading up to Winter Break provide teachers with a unique opportunity to pause and reflect on the work that our learning communities have been so immersed in. Our recent staff meetings have been structured to support this processing. We have been exploring how we might support the children in our respective learning communities […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
Jan
13

Exploring the “We That I Am” Through Character

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi At the beginning of the school year, the primary team identified the overarching idea of our work to be exploration of “the we that I am.” Lauren and I have continued to observe […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
DETAIL
Oct
09

What is a Teacher-Researcher, Anyway?

  The teacher is the chief learner in the classroom. Donald Graves (quoted in Nonfiction Matters)   When I was in my first (and second, third, and fourth!) year at Opal School, I wondered what it meant to be a teacher-researcher. For me, the term evoked images of data collection and analysis, statistics and percentages. […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
DETAIL
Sep
24

Writing curriculum

A new post at Cadwell Collaborative responds to a familiar request: Will you write the curriculum for a new Reggio-inspired school? The post thoughtfully responds that the request cannot be fulfilled.  We make that road through walking. While there are known guideposts to help orient that path and great tools to have in your kit, […]

DETAIL
Sep
12

Intentions: The we that I am

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the pre-primary schools of Reggio Emilia Dear Primary Community families, At Opal School, we see all children as competent, creative, curious, and courageous. We believe they come to school full of experience […]

DETAIL
Jan
03

Compasses for navigating labyrinths

I imagine that, for many of you, the holidays included time for reconnection, reflection, and play – and lots of reading.  I found myself immersed in the varied and layered traps of “civilization” that people across time and space find themselves enmeshed in.  The challenges Cora, Yeong-hye, Alexander, and all of us face are varied – and their efforts […]

DETAIL
Nov
04

Being Safe to Risk

What lives between the comfort zone and the danger zone? It’s a place where you feel safe to risk. It’s the zone we work to stay in at Opal School. It’s the zone we believe that Vea Vecchi might call the Aesthetic Dimension. The place that Elizabeth Gilbert might say is where you find what […]

DETAIL
Oct
04

Partner Explore: Connecting with Materials, Ideas and Each Other

Recently, as the children have been getting more familiar with the routines and setting of school, they are becoming more comfortable with one another, too. As a result, they are revealing deeper expressions of who they are while testing the strengths and limits of their newfound friendships. This is a natural and important next phase for building trust […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
DETAIL
Sep
26

A liberal education

Upon visiting the pre-primary programs in Reggio Emilia, Jerome Bruner famously reflected that the quality of conversation was as rich as any he had encountered in graduate school seminars.  Over the years, it’s a response to observations I’ve frequently encountered from visitors to Opal School. Because my daughter (an Opal School alumna) is off for her […]

DETAIL
Sep
10

Focusing our intentions

Don’t for heaven’s sake, be afraid of talking nonsense! But you must pay attention to your nonsense. -Ludwig Wittgenstein As Opal School staff reconvened last week to launch the new school year, we were inspired by and found connections in two essays.  In Zadie Smith’s Speaking in Tongues, we saw our drive to support children […]

DETAIL