Suzy Amis's Educational Utopia

While Oscar watchers are still buzzing about how James Cameron might buy his wife, Suzy Amis, a cheeseburger, it’s worth pointing out that she’s got a fairly demanding full-time career (actually her second, as she’s an actor.)  Amis,  the mother of 4 , founded Muse  Elementary School in Topanga Canyon (a rustic area populated by old hippie types and those who wrote big hit songs, back in the day) and now has 45 students and 15 full- and part-time teachers for preschool through fourth grade.

Founded on the Reggio Emilia Approach of education,  Muse features student-directed learning.  Amis told the LA Times

Last year, students had a discussion about bees that were swarming around them during snack time. That curiosity turned into a full-blown course of study throughout all grades. “We went from, ‘What is a bee?’ to ‘Why is the bee hive shaped that way?,’ which led to architecture and geometry, Amis Cameron says. “In other schools, they would be told to wait years for the scheduled geometry or biology classes.”

Fans of Avatar will be disappointed that no classes in Na’vi are offered.

Comments

  1. Independent George says:

    Amis Cameron says. “In other schools, they would be told to wait years for the scheduled geometry or biology classes.”

    I’m curious how much geometry they managed to teach without the prerequisite math.

  2. Tom West says:

    I’m curious how much geometry they managed to teach without the prerequisite math.

    Probably a fair bit – most of the prereq’s are fairly easy to work around.

    I’m quite convinced that student-directed learning can work – as long as you have the right staff, the right parents, and most importantly of all, the right students.

    Whether than encompasses more than 1% of schools is a different question.

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