Opal School Visitation Days 2018: Session 1

January 31, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

February 1-2, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

What does school look like when learning approaches aim to be open-ended and joyful explorations through the tools of the arts and sciences? How might playful inquiry open new doors to learning for children and the adults who work with them? What characterizes a pedagogy of play?

Designed to immerse participants in Opal School practice, this multi-day workshop supports educators’ examination and application of approaches to playful inquiry through negotiated curriculum. Visit Opal School classrooms in session to observe, analyze, and reflect on inquiry-based learning through the tools of the arts and sciences. Talk with teachers about the joys and challenges of a practice that holds a strong image of children as thinkers, planners, and contributors to the community.

This workshop has sold out annually. To increase capacity, we are offering it in two sessions: January 31-February 2 and February 28-March 2.

A few reflections from 2017 Visitation Days participants:

Listening to and witnessing someone else’s experience gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own experience. It reenergized my will to carry out the work I want to do in this life.

I am leaving with inspired, engaged, and revolutionary thought… This was the rejuvenating experience I have been in need of this year.

I leave today with more questions and a mind full of fire. It has opened so many possibilities for me as an individual and for our staff as a community of learners.

This experience is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It obviously will influence my work with children and families but my personal life has a new lens that is okay with uncertainty. By far this is the most excited I’ve gotten over professional development.

The observations displayed true respect, dialogue, inquiry, collaboration among children in their interactions as well as the role of the teacher as a co-researcher, asking open-ended questions and guiding children through disruptions… in such a calm, respectful manner… It reminded me of what children are capable of and to trust myself to be a true collaborator in dialogue and projects.

[It] made me proud to know how much I still love learning, growing, and finding joy in the messy, thoughtful world of quality educators.

The teachers’ stories moved me to tears and inspired me so much.

I’m learning that the gap between my practices and beliefs can be bridged if I connect with people… I think spending time in the environments and having time to be able to ask questions and look at students in the moment was inspiring.

I am energized not only by new possibilities, but also by the familiar ideas that I’m now seeing in a new light.

This experience was beyond valuable. I can never explain adequately to others when I go back home how powerfully inspiring and refreshing my experiences here are. At the risk of sounding a little bizarre, this is honestly an emotionally and spiritually nourishing experience.

Honestly, the best PD’s I have experienced have all been here in this wonderful place where I have been shown the possibilities in each of us.

I love coming to Opal School. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for making me dig deeper… My team had so much fun!!!... Observing [Opal] classrooms is something I will never forget.

Seeing the children in the classrooms, observing them, hearing their stories and seeing the documentation of their learning has really opened my eyes to the capabilities of children.

I appreciated teachers sharing their struggles and vulnerabilities and times when things did not go as planned or hoped or had the impact they thought they might. We share those struggles and through sharing them we find a deeper sense of connection.

Always strengthened and heartened to see children and their work respected with grace, curiosity, and love. I love complexity!

I needed this!

This workshop qualifies as a Step Two training through Oregon Registry. Participants are eligible for credit through Portland State University.