Curiosity-Driven Education: A Workshop and In-Depth Exploration (December 17, 2019)

Learn about designing educational experiences that trust the child in their learning. Dive deep into recognizing and maximizing opportunities for discovery toward realizing a student's potential. How do we as educators best provide ample opportunity for creativity, and foster a child's unique curiosity in a safe and nurturing learning community? Slate School’s Head Teacher will hold a 1/2-day workshop to explore best practices in child-centered and curiosity-based learning, innovation in education, and mentoring and guidance on how to incorporate child-centered learning and authentic assessment into all aspects of the classroom. The workshop will be a small, intimate roundtable forum.

  • Who: PreK to Grade 6 educators from any school, and advanced education students, are eligible to apply. Successful applicants will have demonstrated an interest in child-centered education.

  • When: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 (8:00am-12:30pm)

  • Where: Slate School, 124 Mansfield Road, North Haven, Connecticut

Workshop Schedule: 8:00am-12:30pm

  • 8:00-10:00am - Child-Centered, Curiosity-Based Learning: Best Practices, Strategies, and Implementation

    • A comprehensive and interactive discussion about the principles, strategies, and implementation of child-centered, curiosity-based learning. What are best practices, and what does this look like in the field?

  • 10:00-11:00am - Authentic Assessment and Measuring Outcomes

    • What is authentic assessment, and how are outcomes measured? What frameworks are used to evaluate curiosity-based learning? Growth is best measured through the observation of skills in practice, during presentation, and from ongoing portfolio review. These methods of assessment provide excellent understanding of progress and serve the dual purpose of informing instructional next steps for teachers, while providing natural opportunity for student reflection and subsequent personal goal setting.

  • 11:00am-12:30pm - Curriculum Design and Development Idea Incubator

    • Participants will learn how to start and expand their classroom initiatives. What makes a great idea, and how does one transform ideas into action? This session includes a round-table discussion about the ideas of the workshop participants. The workshop participants are an impressive, diverse group who are committed to advancing child-centered, curiosity-based learning. They are encouraged to network and collaborate.

About The Workshop Instructor

Julie Mountcastle is Head of School and Grade 2 Teacher at Slate School, where she developed and leads the school’s curiosity-driven curriculum that is both developmentally-appropriate and academically rigorous. Each child at Slate School embarks on guided discoveries which are designed intentionally and lovingly to excite and motivate the children, and to cultivate each child's innate love for learning. A passionate advocate for child-centered education, Julie designs the classroom experience to nurture every child to be inquisitive and to delve deep into all that there is to learn about the world. Julie believes that trusting the natural curiosity of the child to drive learning leads to the most joyful and meaningful discoveries for the student, the teacher and, ultimately, our beautiful world.

Julie has been an educator since 2001, first in New Jersey, and thereafter as a senior member of the mixed-age, project-based Integrated Day Program at Ridge Road School in North Haven, Connecticut. She began leading Slate School’s design and development in 2017. Throughout the course of a nearly 20-year career as an educator, Julie has taught at every elementary grade level. Before becoming a teacher, Julie was a professional actress and appeared in plays and musicals on Broadway, on London's West End, and in regional theatre across the country. She has also produced and directed many original theatre works with student performers ranging from elementary school to high school.

Julie received her BFA from Florida Atlantic University and a Teaching Certificate from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is also an alumna of Columbia Teacher's College Summer Institute.

How To Apply

Slate School accepts applications on a rolling basis, and the first qualified applicants will be accepted. 

Please submit your application to Slate School ( with the subject line "December 17 Workshop". Please submit:

  • Resume/CV.

  • Short essay (suggested length of 300-500 words) that describes your interest in the workshop and past involvement in child-centered learning (if any). Please also let us know how you learned about the workshop.

The highest quality candidates will be invited to participate in the Child-Centered Education Workshop. Applications are promptly reviewed, and applicants will be notified of the decision on their application within two business days of submission of the completed application. In order to hold an applicant's place in the workshop, a course fee of $35 is required within three days of acceptance. By submitting the course fee, an applicant commits to participating in the workshop, and Slate School confirms the applicant's position in the limited-capacity workshop.