Opal School, the Museum Center for Learning, and Portland Children’s Museum strengthen public education by provoking fresh ideas regarding conditions, environments, and relationships where creativity, curiosity, and the wonder of learning thrive. At each of the following offerings, Opal School teacher-researchers and invited guests will reflect with you on ongoing practice-based research with the intention of improving practice, advancing teacher professionalism, and transforming ideas about what is possible when working with children.

Opal School Visitation Days 2017: Investigating the conditions that support playful inquiry

February 1-3, 2017

Designed to immerse participants in Opal School practice, this multi-day workshop supports educators’ examination and application of approaches to playful inquiry through negotiated curriculum. Visit Opal School classrooms in session to observe, analyze, and reflect on inquiry-based learning through the tools of the arts and sciences. Talk with teachers about the joys and challenges of a practice that holds a strong image of children as thinkers, planners, and contributors to the community.

Reading the World: Finding intersections between literacy, creativity and sustainability

April 12-14, 2017 with special guest Ellin Keene

What conditions do human beings need to thrive? What is the role of schooling in creating these conditions? How are literacy, creativity, and sustainability related and interrelated? How do we support children to connect their reading of the world to the things we do in school?
How is creativity necessary for sustainability of our democracy and our planet?
How do we best support the transition between reading the world and reading the word in a way that doesn’t limit creativity?

Summer Symposium 2017: Play, the Arts and Education for Democracy

June 21-23, 2017

Special guests include Tiziana Filippini, Patricia Hunter McGrath and Christina Bianchi, Bill Fullbrecht, Judy Graves and Melinda Hayward, and Allie Pasquier

Every summer, hundreds of educators committed to recognizing, celebrating, and extending the creative and cognitive capacities of children join Opal School teacher-researchers for three full days of renewal through synthesis, dialogue, materials exploration, and reflection. This year, we focus on the role of the aesthetic dimension in supporting playful inquiry, transdisciplinary thinking, and participatory democracy.