Enrichment, Engagement, and Expression: FleX Week 2018

Byline:  Sarah Kotwicki, Director of Lower School

For the last week in January, Glen Urquhart School lower school students and teachers participated in a new program called FleX Week, modeled after the schoolwide enrichment program designed by Joseph Renzulli, a professor at the University of Connecticut. The school schedule was suspended for a week so that students could participate in two week-long mini-courses. This enrichment project focuses on generating high levels of engagement by creating enjoyable and challenging experiences constructed around students’ own interests and learning styles. Overall, the week was a huge success! Thank you to all of the faculty for their creative planning and time; and many thanks to our parent and staff volunteers who helped cover lunch and recess duty.

Visitors to lower school classrooms during FleX Week discovered costumes, saddles, live chickens, I Spy challenges, urban blueprints, sewing machines, Persephone puppets, essential oils, “toothpaste” explosions, artisan bread loaves, seed mosaics, crystal snowflakes, and Shibori scarves… Students in kindergarten through grade five delved into Greek mythology, journeyed to Japan, experimented in the makerspace, and explored on the nature trail. Engagement and enthusiasm were on display in every gathering place. Opportunities in visual and performing arts included acting, stop motion animation, Japanese art styles, clay forms, A to Z art, sewing, and bread. Focused classes on yoga and meditation, horses, and city planning gave students the chance to dig deeper into their specific interests. Curiosity and critical thinking were requisites for science exploration, greenhouse gardening, and “icky sticky ooey gooey fun!”

Students chose from among eight FleX class options in the morning and seven options in the afternoon; each mini-course ran for a total of ten hours, from Monday through Thursday. On Friday, the children gathered for two sharing sessions in which they presented their work and talked about highlights of their learning experiences. Displays, performances, animated videos, yoga demonstrations, and art exhibits reflected the wide range of perspectives and creativity that collaborating K through 5th graders can produce. Viewers were amazed at how much the students accomplished in just four days.

Whitney Buckley