Note — I'm in the process of turning this blog into an actual, honest-to-goodness website! My plan is to have the basic ideas of our schools accessible to anyone in a few minutes, with no need to hunt through the blog archives. Below is the draft of the "natural world" page. If you've any feedback, I'd love to hear it! (The real thing will include lotsa links.)
“The universe is not a world of separate things and events, of external spectators and an impersonal spectacle. It is an integral whole.”
We're spawned from a complex, amazing universe — filled with neutrinos and molecules and Venus flytraps and great white sharks. The natural world abounds with excitement and puzzles and joy! And yet science classes often feel dry and dull.
What if a new kind of school could connect kids with the great blooming, buzzing confusion that is the natural world?
Our schools take students into more depth and complexity by grade school than many of us got in college. We —
- ground kids in a rich history-of-science curriculum which prompts students to puzzle out natural riddles alongside the likes of Galileo, Darwin, and Marie Curie.
- bring a diversity of animals and plants into the school grounds, and have kids observe their anatomies and behaviors.
- turn the kitchen into a laboratory and pay close attention to why chemicals act the way they do — why do sugars brown, egg whites whiten, and fruits ripen?
- dissect toasters, light bulbs, and other technology and puzzle out how they work (so we can make them ourselves).
- vigorously study the geology and ecology bound up in a single, local natural site.
- help kids feel the glory of nature by getting them into the woods.
- connect everything we study back into the 13.7 billion-year-old history of Life, the Universe, and Everything!
Our goal is to help every student become something of a naturalist, and fall in love with the complexity of the world around us.
We strive to re-enchant the cosmos — or, better, to show kids that it already is enchanted.