As this school year comes to a close and Camp Wonderopolis 2018 is on the horizon, I cannot help but think about how Wonder-Full it would be to re-imagine education altogether. Sir Ken Robinson reminds us that we should move away from the industrial, business model of the current public education system and move toward a more agricultural model in which we strive to create the most favorable conditions for our students to flourish. Part of creating those conditions is encouraging and protecting the innate sense of wonder we all have that seems to decline rapidly through adolescence, returning (if we're lucky and mindful) when we grow old.
The closest "big" city near me, Columbus, Ohio, has decided they are going to try just that. The Columbus Museum of Art and Columbus State Community College have teamed up to create the first Wonder School in the area. a 50,000 foot expansion was added to the existing campus to house the first preschool class of 12 students age three to five years. Pre-service teachers will be trained in the building and Early Childhood Education faculty will serve as the preschool teachers. They will employ a research-based curriculum and pedagogy, with the following overarching goal: "Our mission is to foster purposeful play, critical inquiry, and a collaborative community approach to education." Sounds like an amazing place to be!
The Wonder School found its roots in the museum's Wonder Room, an interactive place where young children can touch, climb, and play with art installations, something that of course is normally not allowed in an art museum. reminiscent of The JB Speed Art Museum's Art Sparks in my hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, this space encourages children and students to interact with art and to create it on their own. I cannot wait to visit the museum and hopefully the Wonder School someday. Seems like the faculty, parents, and students might just be interested in some Wonderopolis!!