What Can I Do With This?: Facilitating Fascinating Connections in the Classroom (March 20, 2019)

Every year, educators research and purchase materials and books for their classroom to satisfy particular needs for teaching and learning. Every year, however, our students teach us to see these materials through their own fascinating lenses. Inspired by texts such as It Looked Like Spilt Milk, teachers will reenvision, repurpose, and connect materials across the curriculum to the delight and educational benefit of the student. Join Slate School’s Head of School for a 1/2-day, hands-on learning workshop where nothing is as it seems. 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: Wednesday, March 20 (8:00am-12:30pm)

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

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

  • 8:00-9:00am - Introductions and Setting of Purpose

    • A sharing of observations from our various classrooms, illuminating the importance of risk taking for students and educators, and a conversation about how the lack of risk teaches children to be afraid to fail.

  • 9:00-11:00am - Discovery and Bridge Building

    • Join in an active exploration of common and not-so-common classroom materials to reveal hidden connections across the curriculum. Develop the child’s eye for discovering familiar things anew. Educators will have ample opportunity to collaborate and create pathways for learning to take back to their classroom.

  • 11:00am-12:30pm - Classroom Idea Incubator

    • Engage in an in-depth conversation to build on the morning’s exploration, with an emphasis on maintaining the flexibility of thought in the child-centered environment. What makes all ideas great, and how do we as teachers bravely step back and facilitate child-centered transformation of their 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 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 (info@slateschool.org) with the subject line "March 20 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 March 20th 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.