Teaching and Learning for the Future
September 19, 2018

Dear Harbor Families,
When our preschoolers enter adulthood, it will be the year 2033. Hard to believe! What do we know about what life will be like for them? In a fast-changing world, we can’t know much, but as educators and parents, it is our responsibility to consider the dispositions that will help our students along the path to success and happiness, in whatever way they may be defined. What kind of dispositions do we want to develop? Curiosity, collaboration, creativity, confidence, empathy, perseverance, agency, to name a few.

Last week, the Harbor teachers engaged in professional development about maker education and design thinking. Guided by our partners at the KID Museum, a local makerspace and center for professional learning about the maker movement in schools, teachers explored ways to foster creative thinking and collaboration through hands-on experiences in making and designing for our specific developmental ages at Harbor. We experienced the design thinking process ourselves, working together to discover an issue through empathy and exploring multiple perspectives, then to design, ideate, prototype, and test solutions to improve our classroom functions. As we reflected on ways to integrate making and the design cycle into daily teaching at Harbor, there was a feeling that, as one teacher put it, “we are already doing a lot of this with our kids, but just didn't have a name for it before”. This affirms what I have observed in classrooms and in discussions with the Harbor community - that at Harbor, there is a culture of thoughtful planning and professional discourse to develop the kind of people who will thrive in an unknown future.

This year, we are opening a makerspace, with a variety of materials for making, tinkering, constructing, and designing. There will be cardboard construction, robotics, legos, fabrication, and 3D design on our own 3D printer. The word “space”, however, can imply more than a physical location. Instead, consider that we are creating a mindset, or head “space”, where we facilitate learning in all of our classrooms that will teach students to create, collaborate, empathize, and persevere through challenges. These are meaningful and authentic learning experiences in any setting, and not to mention, a lot of fun!

And this is just the beginning... We have engaged the Kid Museum in a year-long partnership for professional development, where consultants will work with our teachers, in our classrooms and makerspace, to continue the work we began last week. As we dive into a year with the theme of Innovation by Design, we look forward to engaging the entire Harbor community in making and design thinking - for our future!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School