Monday, December 07, 2009

What is it? How can it be packaged?

60 Minutes, a CBS news program broadcast a program last night about Geoffrey Canada's "Harlem Children's Zone" which gives children in poverty a leg up in competition with the children of more privileged parents.

The big news in last night's program is that the Children's Zone is working. Test scores tell that the HCZ's children are performing at a par with those given the benefits of better neighborhoods, better educated parents, and greater wealth.

Experts are trying to figure out how to package the Harlem Children's Zone model for distribution in other communities. Is there a single thing, a magic elixir that can be transposed to new sites?

What you can see through the eyes of the 60 minute report is an area in Harlem where Froebel's maxim, "Let us live for our children," is to brought to life. Can we broaden the application of this maxim, so that it might apply to a whole nation?

In relation to Geoffrey Canada's work, you might enjoy this blog post by Deborah Meiers, What works for rich kids works for all kids. And you might also enjoy the interesting addendum by Diane Ravitch, "What does the best and wisest parent want?"

Today in the Clear Spring school wood shop, the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students will finish their maps of Pangea, and begin making toys for holiday distribution. The high school students will finish their launchers for the study of physics. Placing children at the center of our universe involves giving them the creative capacity to explore through their own hands... It involves trusting them in the responsible use of tools to shape, create, and make new. And as in the case of our CSS students making toys, we'd best give them the opportunity to give and share what they have created with others, allowing them to find in themselves the model for our future.

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