a tour of blue school
an instance or manner of greeting someone
A feeling that you get when you walk into the blue
school–also, an intentional practice. Everyday, the
school community meets for a quick hello, a short
reﬂection, or an impromptu game. It strengthens the
parent community and makes every day at school
one that starts with community and a sense of
1 a doorway, gate, or other entrance, esp. a large
and elaborate one.
A glow hallway laden with black lights that connects
the entrance/community gathering area with the
rest of the school.
Used for public art projects and sometimes just to let
out some energy.
a painting or other work of art executed directly on
A manifestation of a larger exploration of form. In
this case, done in glow paint and after months
conversation about squiggles and shapes. Always in
progress and awaiting exploration of meaning.
1 material that provides ofﬁcial information or
evidence or that serves as a record :
Everywhere. Mostly depicting the evolution of
shared inquiry that comprises a curriculum that is
constantly evolving. A mix of reﬂection, quotes, and
pictures. It celebrates and illuminates process.
Here we explore the transition from squiggle to
form to production.
a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting
something; a mental impression
A playful concept in inquiry that encourages pattern
ﬁnding and discovery. It often involves ﬁnding the
familiar or exotic in apparent chaos.
signs collectively, esp. commercial
or public display signs.
Abundant in hallways and on
cabinets. Often made by or for
children themselves. May have
creative lettering or child
renderings of object in question.
Clarifying, playful, child-centric.
mind map | map|
A mind map is a diagram used to
represent words, ideas, tasks, or other
items linked to and arranged around a
central key word or idea.
A tool to illuminate the necessarily
winding road to learning. It is often used
to trace a line of inquiry and relevant
themes and concepts. It is both a tool for
teachers (and students) to wrap their
mind around their own evolving
curriculum and a public artifact.
emotion | |
a natural instinctive state of mind
deriving from one's circumstances, mood,
or relationships with others
A key component to child development
and everyday blue school conversation.
The goal is to develop emotional
awareness, intelligence, and control.
Books that inspire their work:
• The Development of Emotional
Competence, Carolyn Saarni
• Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman
• Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child,
Here, the kindergarten class has made a
creature and space (emotion station) to
deal with emotions (like anger) through
art. A shared dialogue about emotion
and a public space for its understanding
keeps it from something relegated to
hushed tones and hallways.
color | |
the property possessed by an object of
producing different sensations on the eye
as a result of the way the object reﬂects
or emits light
Something to be explored, splattered,
studied, and mixed. Recipes for new
kinds of color are constantly concocted.
world | |
the earth, together with all of its
countries, peoples, and natural features
Something to be explored but also
created. In the four-year-old classroom,
this world was a mouse world. This
means systems, structures, and spaces all
on the mouse (and child) scale to be
discussed and reﬁned by the class.
workshop | |
a room or building in which goods are
manufactured or repaired.
An authentic space in the classroom with
real tools and artifacts of process. A
place for making and learning skills like
precision and measurement. It is a place
where ideas are manifested and all ages
make | |
form (something) by putting parts
together or combining substances;
An synonym for learn. You see, learning
is active at the blue school. Here,
kindergarten students are using a real
saw (under supervision) to construct a
bird house. But to get to this point? A lot
of learning...look around.
projector | |
an object that is used to project rays of
light, esp. an apparatus with a system of
lenses for projecting slides or ﬁlm onto a
Old school device gone wonder room
mainstay. Pictured here, it is a tool for
displaying shadows (dinos, obviously) and
color. A modern day screensaver, puppet
show, light-bright...whatever you want.
wonder | |
a feeling of surprise mingled with
admiration, caused by something
beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or
A feeling that a many rooms have at the
blue school–but one room (for the 2-year-
olds) is designed to embody it. Used for
creative and dramatic play, this room is
meant to inspired wonder. The
foundation of learning.
movement | |
the general activity or bustle of people or
things in a particular place
A crucial part of the healthy
development of young children. The
children weigh in (and so might you) that
this is best done in spaces that glow.
While special rooms with soft building
materials are good for this, corridors and
courtyards also work quite well.
treehouse |trē ˈhouziz|
a structure built in the branches of a tree
for children to play in.
A space for reading, thinking, napping,
plotting, learning, or many other -ing
things. It is found in the branches of a
tree, even if those branches are brought
inside. One might make an argument to
the formal deﬁnition that it isn’t only for
invention |inˈven sh ən|
something, typically a process or device,
that has been invented
the action of inventing something,
typically a process or device
Created items of imagined utility and
great novelty. This invention gallery was
made by ﬁrst graders. It allowed
exploration of people, processes,
creativity, and form.
a diagrammatic representation of an
area of land or sea showing physical
features, cities, roads, etc.
A product of exploration of self and
place. Shown here is one of many maps
of New York City created by ﬁrst
graders. Using the city as a laboratory,
lessons from sociology to urban planning
to maps can be explored.
a district, esp. one forming a community
within a town or city
Something one should be aware and
active in. At the blue school,
neighborhood and boroughs are
explored virtually and by foot and then
recreated as maps.
select, organize, and look after the items
in (a collection or exhibition)
An active process of cataloging selected
and found materials for use in learning
activities. Key to storage is transparency
so that students and teachers may be
inspired by the object itself. This is at the
end of a corridor – a sort of exhibition
for art supplies rather than art itself.
collection |kəˈlek sh ən|
an assembly of items such as works of
art, pieces of writing, or natural objects,
esp. one systematically ordered
Whether manmade or natural, bought or
found, the blue school has an impressive
collection of materials for use in projects
a traveling company of acrobats, trained
animals, and clowns that gives
performances, typically in a large tent, in
a series of different places
An opportunity for performance during
a parents’ night. In this classroom, the 3-
year-olds were excited by this idea and
used a circular rug (that also acts as a
way to explore the solar system and meet
in groups) and hanging fabric to create a
circus tent and grounds.
sanctuary |ˈsa ng (k) ch oōˌerē|
a place of refuge or safety
Here is a space where transition and
emotion is explored. For three-year-olds,
a nook in the classroom is special and
quiet place to reﬂect on the transition out
of full parent-contact classrooms. This
space has soft objects, images of their
families, books, and curtains to create a
a dirty or untidy state of things or of a
An incidental by-product of play. It is
often intentionally created and or
celebrated at the blue school. It shouldn’t
be a deterrent for certain types of
activities, such as drumming with paint.
a large, thin, ﬂat case for loose sheets of
paper such as drawings or maps.
Key components to a child’s time at the
blue school. They contain art, stories,
and other creations that are reﬂected on
amongst teachers, with parents, and by
the students themselves.
reﬂection |riˈﬂek sh ən|
an idea about something, esp. one that is
written down or expressed
A practice to for teachers to mediate on
their class activities and report to parents
and one another. While curriculum
reﬂections are posted throughout the
classroom, weekly reﬂections are posted
at the entrance of the school.