Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Podcast, Story #2!

Ok, so it's a day late, but we've got it done and I love it! Here's podcast #2!

It is wonderful to me because it features a great Oklahoma artist who is more than amazing, Romy Owens.  This woman not only knows photography, but also other artists in this state and she promotes them every day.  Through her Facebook page, she tells people daily about different art events from which they can learn and enjoy.  This woman is a giver. It's no surprise to me that she wins awards, but it's always refreshing to see someone so successful give back and that's what inspired this podcast.  Thanks to a grant from the Paseo Arts Association, she's been able to work with students from Edgemere Elementary School to help them to know more about photography and the work of William Eggleston. They took photographs of their own living spaces in Eggleston's "snapshot" style and there will be a great exhibition at AKA Gallery in the Paseo on First Friday, November 5th.  It's called "Sanctuary."  Don't miss it! I was privileged to see the work of these young artists and IT IS MOVING.

The best thing about Oklahoma is the fact that people want to work together for the good of those in our community.  Romy Owens is one person we would all be privileged to work with and I can only hope to be so lucky as to work with her at our school.  Thanks Romy for giving us a little time to hear more about what you do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Podcast! Story #1

Now that we have a name for the school we can finally make a website.  Why do we need a website when our doors aren't even close to opening? Well we thought it would be good to let people know what we're all about and what we want to do when we ARE ready to welcome people to 612 NW 29th Street!

One of the ways that we are going to do this is to have weekly podcasts. These podcasts will come in the form of short videos, highlighting either the kinds of things we'd like to encourage at the school or people and places around OKC and Oklahoma that we respect.

We hope you enjoy the first installment as it's just a hint of what's to come!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Young School Will "Rise With" the Occasion.

If you have 18 minutes and you care about education, watch this.  Sir Ken Robinson will be here in Oklahoma City next month for the Creativity World Forum and I personally can not wait to hear what he has to say.  Watching his talks reinforces everything that I want to do at The Young School.

I once heard from a docent at the Museum that in gardening, if you put plants in the place that's right for them, they will flourish.  If they get the amount of light or shade that they need and if they get the right amount of water, they will grow.  Ironically, I was telling my walking partner in the Race for the Cure just this morning that I thought people were exactly the same.  When they find their passion they will grow.  They also find what it is that they are meant to give to the world and we need everyone's contribution in order for this world to be its best!

In education, I believe that we need to help children and adults to find their passion.  No two people are the same, so the education model we have for everyone doesn't work.  It's not that the teachers don't work.  They are the hardest working people on the planet, and the most underpaid, but we have to change the way that we approach what we are giving kids in this country through school.

I am not claiming to know everything about education or to even say that we will be a school that could replace what we currently have.  We will be more of a community center after school hours than anything else.  But I know that if things go according to our plan, anyone that walks through our doors and takes a class will be encouraged to find their passion and to grow...and it will be done through creativity.  (Those sweet little preschoolers will have the experience that is closest to a school setting, but even that will take a different form.  I'll take a future blog to talk about my ideas for that.)

Sir Ken Robinson says that education has to "rise with" the occasion, not "rise to" it.  The world is changing and there is a revolution in educational models all over the world.  We have to move with this change in order to give kids and adults what they really and truly need.  We have to feed their energy, spirit and passion in order for learning to resonate with each person as they are, who they are and where they are.  We have to customize the experience to the person in order to give the best education possible. We have to feed their spirit! (These are Sir Ken's words, but they are exactly what I have been trying to say through this project.)

Watch this video...it will inspire you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aaaaaaaand we have a name!

I have wanted to open a school for art and music for about seven years now.  At least that's how long ago it was that I started thinking that I could actually do it.  My mom says that I used to talk about having a little red school house when I was in high school, so I think this has been in my consciousness for even longer.  But when I really started thinking that this was my goal, I thought about names for the school and what I would want it to be.  It was always "The Young School."  I thought it would be fun because it's my last name and it would be for young people, preschoolers.

However, when I met James and I started to open my heart to an even bigger idea (James has the best ideas and they're always big) I knew that I would need to be open to other names out of respect for the collaboration and other people's hopes, dreams and ideas.  So I haven't been demanding that we use "The Young School"...until a few days ago.  

I want to honor my family because they have not only helped me with funding for the project, but also given me the experiences and support that makes me want to give to others.  In addition, I want the building to be a place that helps people to be happy and to always feel young.  Learning and sharing rejuvenates you! Realizing how much you've grown over a period of time can bring real happiness.

So, as usual, James was very generous and kind and agreed that it would be ok to keep the name that I have always wanted. I couldn't be more grateful.  And now that we have that decided, we can move forward with creating a website which will feature our podcasts, a link to the blog and eventually everything that we want to share with people online.  We can also get a logo and stationery put together.

I'm so excited!!! "The Young School" is coming together!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gardening, Cooking and Eating Together

James sent me a link to a great blog entry in the New York Times Opinion Section.  It's about returning to a more agrarian society, much like the founding fathers envisioned. It's also about the benefits of kids gardening and eating together.  I believe in this and I know I've written about it before. As James would say, it's just exciting to see that it's part of a collective consciousness.  We aren't the only ones thinking that this would be a good idea! And I know we won't be the only ones doing this, which is a great thing.

We want more people to do this because it is good for them! None of the ideas we have are all that original, but we aren't trying to take credit for them.  We're just trying to encourage people to do it.  Even if we weren't able to have a garden, I think it would still be good to sit down, eat a meal together and then clean up together as well.  I gained so much from this when I was growing up.  When my family ate meals together, we talked, discussed issues, told stories, laughed and had so much fun.  I know that's why I still don't really love to eat alone.  I miss the connections and fun!  I believe kids need that too.

p.s. We've decided on a name for the school and I'm thrilled because it's what I've wanted all along.  I just wanted to make sure that the other people on board were ok with it.  I think I'll wait until the next post to make the announcement, though.  :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

826 = Inspiration

Through the school and community center that we want to start, I want to shine the light on just how special people are...of all ages.  My friends Genevieve Santos and James Varnum told me about stores in San Francisco, Brooklyn and New York (and there are more!).  They are all part of the 826 National program and here is a TED talk to tell you more about them.

I have already written about wanting to provide after school programs for kids that help them get their homework done before they go home so that there will be less of a struggle between the kids and their parents, but while watching this video, the idea came to me that we could partner with a school that is right there in the Paseo.  It's just an idea today, but who knows what it could be a year and a half from now when I'm finished with my masters degree and just about ready to open those doors??? Exciting!