Our President Rebecca Amis had an incredibly inspiring and equally as productive trip to New York last week – filled with meetings in the city, a visit to her alma mater and now-home of a MUSE School graduate, a radio interview with our CEO Jeff King, and two insightful presentations on MUSE School’s philosophy and her work toward spreading the model through MUSE Global.
After a few days of visits in the city with The Coalition for Healthy School Food, Harlem Grown Impact Farm, New York Sun Works, the United Nations International School, and The Portfolio School, Rebecca headed upstate.
In what became a very “coming full circle’ moment for Rebecca, she and Jeff went to Bard College to visit MUSE School graduate Morgan Shepard. Bard happens to be Rebecca’s alma mater – and also the site where she developed her love of early childhood education, which of course turned into an unbridled passion, and ultimately what she’s dedicated her life’s work toward.
After strolling along Bard’s campus with Morgan, they then headed to Rhinebeck for the OMEGA Drawdown Learn Conference, where Morgan would be joining Rebecca for a presentation on ‘Sustainability Natives.’
As she opened the presentation, Rebecca reflected on her visit earlier that day to Bard, sharing with the audience that, “I celebrated Earth Day for the first time at Bard College. It’s wonderful to go back and see how much it has progressed. It’s this amazing 360° that I never thought I’d be able to experience.”
She then tied in the MUSE philosophy surrounding early childhood education and sustainability.
“We believe that if children start learning about the sustainability practices and climate crisis at a young age, they will grow up being very fluent in that language and become sustainability natives.”
Morgan then took the stage to share her MUSE School experience as it pertains to her foundation in environmental education. She said that, “[MUSE] gave me an institutional lense by which I could view the world, in a way that I could understand.”
She went on to explain that MUSE gave her “clearer language to talk about the environment, and how to understand it better. MUSE is very good at refining thought for their students, and it has a very subtle way of doing it. It’s not a lot of ‘sit down, here’s the statistics.’ They would give you an idea, then let you sit back and think about it, then discuss it later with your teachers and classmates.”
In closing, Rebecca said, “The goal is that were connecting kids around the world [to] this theme of environmental sustainability, but also perpetuating a theme of inner sustainability and passion-based learning and doing what they love – but then also doing something for the good of our planet.”
A couple of days later, Rebecca and Jeff headed to Rochester. The pair were interviewed by Evan Dawson on his WXXI radio show, “Connections,” with a particular focus on MUSE’s passion-based learning philosophy.
In breaking down the concept, Rebecca shared that, “Once you’re really loving something and focused on that, you become engaged. And it doesn’t turn into the rote memorization model that we all had growing up.” She went on to explain that, “it’s about having a voice and a choice in education. That’s really our goal.”
Jeff said, “We take the academic content, and wrap it around whatever the student is passionate about. He added, “The paradigm shift that we are trying to implement is to engage your child so that they love to come to school every day and actually want to be here. Because if they’re feeling that way that now when they’re in early childhood education and elementary school, they will go to college with that same level of interest and engagement in their collegiate activities [because] they are accustomed to living a passion-based lifestyle.”
Later that evening, they visited Rochester Institute of Technology, where Rebecca was invited to speak by a former MUSE parent that relocated to New York, Liza Savage-Katz (which really brought her trip full-circle)!
Rebecca gave a holistic overview of the MUSE model and our expansion through MUSE Global, she shared her dream of instilling in children around the world an innate love of our planet and life-long learning.
In her presentation, she said that, “At MUSE, they’re not learning to read, they’re reading to learn.”
“And why do they love to read?” she asked. “It’s because they’re reading about what they love.”
For more information on MUSE’s philosophies around sustainability, passion-based learning, and their implementation in MUSE Global Schools – or to learn more about opening a MUSE Global School in your own community, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.