(written by Jan Kinder, from newsletter)

As I watch the youth of today, I’m reminded of growing up in the 60’s. Our daily schedules were not hectic and complicated. We started school in kindergarten and before that, play was our classroom. We had imaginative time to expand our minds and develop our creativity, and express our individuality. Our education system, for the most part, supported the ‘teachers taught, and students listened and learned’ model.

One of my teachers however did not conform to that model and has stood out in my mind for over 35 years and influenced my teaching of children. Ms. Keilty, my Latin teacher for three years was magical. She made a dead language come to life through her creative and unorthodox teaching style. She did not teach through rote learning. She got us to think and not just recite back what she taught. We acted out stories with props and music, and even wore togas. She created a Roman forum style classroom. We were being transported to a place where learning was fun, alive, and full of discovery.

Years later I was drawn to learn the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education, which teaches that concepts and skills are built through active involvement, and not through structured methodology. It has been proven to me that play-oriented and self-discovery education are vital components in today’s educational forum.

Waveplace champions approaches and tools that allow education to come to life. The XO laptop and Squeak Etoys software engages children and encourages them to think independently. It allows a child’s untapped creativity to emerge. It let’s them share that creativity and individuality around the globe.

Many of our native children know only the Caribbean and with this comes limitations. Introducing them to other children from around the world, sharing their stories and culture, will be a real experience for them. The globe will be much more than a map. The children at our St John pilot have been excited and enthusiastic since day one. Each day their world opens to new possibilities both within themselves and beyond.

I’m sure Ms. Keilty would have loved it.

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