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Immersed in the Wonder of Messing About: The Canadian Opening of the Hawkins Exhibit

Our days at Richland Academy are awesome – full of discoveries and connections among our students.  This weekend was no different – only this weekend it was the Faculty and Staff who were making incredible discoveries and connections at the Canadian opening of the exhibit, Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child: The Philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins.

Friday evening over one hundred guests gathered at Richland Academy for the opening reception to hear Dr. Ellen Hall, colleague of Frances and David Hawkins and Founder of the Boulder Journey School in Colorado; deliver the keynote address.  The energy and passion for science and learning permeated the school, and new friendships were formed among the guests almost instantly.Dr. Hall’s keynote speech touched upon the history of the Hawkins Exhibit, as she shared the dedication and approach of the Hawkins’ to science and learning.  The work of Frances and David Hawkins is not limited to their own personal research, but is rather an approach that we are all capable of embracing – a philosophy akin to that of Reggio Emilia.  Connections were drawn between David Hawkins and Loris Malaguzzi, about their shared belief that children are curious and capable.  This idea resonated with the many Reggio-inspired educators, keen to learn more on the Hawkins’ concept of Messing About.Saturday morning delegates gathered once again at Richland to experience a series of Messing About workshops and presentations.  There was a room dedicated to exploring light, exploring our inventive nature, another dedicated to balance, one to outdoor spaces, one to natural materials, and even one to tomatoes!  Each room was alive – sparking inquiry and discovery – facilitated by passionate educators.

As the day drew to a close, and was reflected upon by Dr. Hall, it became apparent that the Messing About had only just begun.  The inspired group was left to consider one question:

How does your road lead to Hawkins?

Here are some of the inspired tweets and reflections from the Conference’s attendees:

“What an inspirational, thought provoking and mind challenging experience it was.  To be in a place with other passionate educators, who had come with open minds; to listen, reflect, dialogue, and wonder at all the incredible work so many were so willing to share.  Ellen Hall opened the Hawkins ‘living room’ to us all.  A place where educators could con-construct a curiosity based vision for education.  The “Messing About’ exhibit challenged us to follow a curriculum, where the understanding of math and science happens naturally as children become deeply engaged through project work.  It gave us an opportunity to ‘mess about’ with materials, as children do, and learn through those experiences.  We experienced the scientific and creative ‘languages’ of light, loose parts, balance, ramps, forces and motion.  It was a wonderful opportunity to experience the joy of a child naturally exploring and making meaning of his world.” – K. Daniel