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Friday, January 06, 2017

Boston Museum of Science Inspires: Building a Modern Elementary School Campus

The Boston Museum of Science
I've been listening to many meetings and reading reports about modernizing school building and programs. Today when I visited the Boston Museum of Science, I was happily met with a much updated and user friendly museum. It's always been a great museum, but the exhibit updates were wonderful and so student-friendly. It was a terrific trip.

As I watched students engage with the exhibits with interest, I began thinking of current learning/teaching models. I was thinking about the fact that our spaces, furniture, and schedules may in some ways hold us back from the innovation possible, and that a walk through the Museum provided some great ideas for further innovation.

Since our system has a wonderful new high school and much older elementary school buildings, I'm wondering if it's in the system's best efforts to begin to think about building an elementary school campus of more modern buildings that include modern learning spaces.

As I imagined this campus, I imagined terrific sports fields, a big garden, playful, experiential classrooms, wired for modern technology, and able to house the many collective and specialized programs that support young children today.

Of course this would be a long range plan, and one that the Town would need to support. Plus it may be totally not cost effective to do this, yet on the other hand it might be just the right thing to do.

If a community was to make such a decision, it would affect short term decisions too with respect to the furniture purchased, other materials, programming changes and updates, and technology infrastructure and purchases.

I believe our system used a wonderful process when it came to the design and building of the new high school. It began with building vision through a number of meetings. That would be an exciting process to engage in when it comes to teaching young children and thinking about supporting the best possible programming for those children. It would be a hefty task, and a task that would profit from a strategic, inclusive, transparent process.

The first step would be to get out there and look at the best modern schools. What do they look like? How do they serve students well?

In the meantime, I'm going to be thinking about ways that I can update my program and classroom to better reflect the wonderful experiential learning environment The Boston Museum of Science is. I'll start my taking another trip to the museum soon to take a closer look.