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Why imagination?

Opal School exists to extend the imagination around environments that support curiosity and the wonder of learning.  As we face a series of crises – not only the one Arne Duncan talks about, but those of climate change, increasing concentrations of wealth and power, and political divisions that seem to have us on a calendared cycle of near-collapse, why would we place such a high value on curiosity and imagination?

I thought of this value when I heard historian Joyce Appleby interviewed by Bill Moyers.  Appleby’s new book is about the role of curiosity in transitioning the old Europe, limited by church dogma, to the modern world.  Moyers asked Appleby about the relationship between curiosity and imagination.  She said,

“I think curiosity depends upon your imagining something different from what exists”

– and said that it was the way in which Europeans were gobsmacked by encounters in the New World that freed them from an imagination limited by Church dogma.

What images of curiosity and imagination are we capturing at Opal School this week?

6a0133f2cfa014970b019b0048b23b970c-800wi"Hey, how did that happen? …let me see that again!"6a0133f2cfa014970b019affd6a6fc970c-800wi


How tall can we make it?  What happens when we all work together?


When the apple cider first got into my mouth it made me think of rainbow apple cider which isn’t really real, but maybe it could be.6a0133f2cfa014970b019b00313711970c-800wi

People get invited [to form friendships] by seeing the animals and having fun.


I just found out we are building more on to the playground. It feels like we are the most important class! I can’t wait until school is over to tell my mom. I’m also really excited to “spy” on the other kids and to meet the architect we get to interview the teacher/kids /adults and more. Wowie my heart is fluttering! It feels so fluttery it feels like its going to flutter out of me. I have so many ideas…IMG_7792How can you work together to create a skyline on your table with the blue tape?

Like you, I see a tremendous amount of energy being poured into the big tent of “education reform.” It will take imagination to do something other than make slight improvements to the world we have – and slight improvements don’t respond to the severity of the problems.  We need to be gobmsacked to imagine something different.

We offer the work of children and adults at Opal School as one spot to generate curiosity around what could be. I'm curious: Where do you look to extend your imagination of what could be?

October 25, 2013

One response to “Why imagination?

  1. I love how this post gives a glimpse into the importance of imagination and how it’s relevant and important in the world. Building on your reference to what’s happening in the world today, a fav quote of mine on the subject of staying ahead…

    “Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe” H.G. Wells

    And one on imagination:

    “Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler did not solve an old problem: they asked a new question” Ken Robinson

    Not only does Opal encourage imagination, but allows room for self expression in creativity! By showing us that our voice is important and valued we gain courage both to ask new questions and to take a shot at finding a way to answer them. This leads to our imagination finding manifestation in the world. Our civilization will get no where if those ideas sparked from imagination stay settled in our mind, we need to apply those ideas to the world!

    Makes me wonder – in what aspects are we as adults trying to find solutions to old problems? Where could more imagination be used?

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