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In Eminence, Kentucky, a small rural district has dedicated their entire school to reveling in the joy and excitement of learning. From makerspaces to interactive hallways to a slide that sends students from the top level to the ground, they have created a space that captures the imagination—and has become the pride of their economically challenged community. But the approach goes well beyond the physical building. Teachers are supported in professional development sessions that encourage them to inject a sense of “surprise and delight” into their lessons, as well as in guiding students through meaningful projects that connect to their community. So school becomes a place where academic rigor is accomplished in an active, collaborative, and engaging way.
To learn more about the research behind the practices seen in the video, check out the links below.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on how play enhances development in young children (2018)
- Kayleigh Skene, Christine M. O’Farrelly, Elizabeth M. Byrne, Natalie Kirby, Eloise C. Stevens, and Paul G. Ramchandani’s meta-analysis and review on whether guidance during play can enhance children’s learning and development in educational contexts (2022)
- Rachel Parker, Bo Stjerne Thomsen, and Amy Berry’s article on learning through play at school (2022)
- Matthias J. Gruber and Yana Fandakova’s investigation of the neurological side of the positive effects of curiosity on learning and memory (2021)
- Christine I. Celio, Joseph Durlak, and Allison Dymnicki’s meta-analysis of the impact of service learning on students (2011)