The moment I walked into the K-1 classroom taught by Lauretta Freeman, the teacher-director and co-founder of the Co-op, I realized that I had found the school I was looking for for my daughter. Small groups of young learners were engaged joyfully in their different projects and it felt so right! That was over 34 years ago, and it still feels so right – and now I have the privilege and pleasure of providing that type of learning environment for my students from grade 5 through 8 in Theme Studies.
In Theme Studies, we study Ancient Civilizations, Mythology, Global Issues and the American Experience, but my goal as a progressive educator is that my students appreciate that everything is connected. I care that my students develop empathy, tolerance and compassion; and that they cultivate a spirit of service, engagement, social justice and activism. To achieve these goals, we engage in spirited conversations and debates, shared readings, research both in school and at home, and creative projects as well as lectures.
Trips are a unique and powerful addition to this learning. Whether the Cloisters while studying medieval Europe or Jamestown while preparing to learn U.S. History, the children connect what they’re learning in class to the real world, they connect the dots, they form opinions, and they hone their thinking.
I have lived in and travelled to many wonderful parts of the world. I have been an art teacher in inner city as well as suburban and rural public districts. At the Co-op, I get to help each child optimize their love of learning; become a responsible member of a learning community; and create global citizens engaged socially and environmentally.