“It does not require a great leap of imagination or profound insight to recognize that the values and visions that have driven education during the first quarter of the 20th century are reappearing with a vengeance today. We look for “best methods” as if they were independent of context; we do more testing than any nation on earth; we seek curriculum uniformity so parents can compare their schools with other schools, as if test scores were good proxies for the quality of education. What we are now doing is creating an industrial culture in our schools, one whose values are brittle and whose conception of what’s important is narrow. Achievement has triumphed over inquiry. I think our children deserve more.”– Elliot W. Eisner
I recently came across this quote by Elliot W. Eisner in one of the articles I was assigned from my Master’s Program. Elliot Eisner was a visionary in the field of arts and education. He maintained that the arts were critical to developing skills in learners. One of our guiding principles at The Innovative School is to create the conditions that spark curiosity and creativity. Through the arts, which are embedded within our innovative approaches, learners are given the time and space to be creative and curious. We know that in addition to many other benefits, the arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. Our work at The Innovative School – and the community we’re building together – is dedicated to creating learning environments our children deserve.
I recently attended Shabbat services at Temple Beth Sholom that were led by our kIndergarten and first grade classes. The only way I can describe my experience is -magical. In addition to all of the teachers from those grades, so many families attended. It was obvious that the learners were “at home” in the Sanctuary. Each week, we sing, pray and bond together at our weekly Kabbalat Shabbat experience. No matter how our week or how our day is going, we all come together on Fridays to nourish each other. In addition to creating environments that support academic excellence, we know that creating environments that promote emotional well-being is equally important. This is one of the most important differences between our approach to teaching and learning and a more traditional approach, whose values may be brittle and whose conception of what’s important is often narrow. (Elliot Eisner)
Recently, we asked our learners what they feel about joyful learning, the relationships with their friends, teachers, and staff and about being seen and known at their school. Their words (feelings and thoughts) are truly telling and should not be dismissed as just cute and funny. The learners are our most important stakeholders and doing what is best for them is always at the forefront in everything we do and according to Luz from Third Grade who stated ,
“What I love about this school is that even though I came from another country, when I learn here I feel confident. I love that they teach in a different way than other schools.”
We are on the right track!