A few months ago, I asked Mama Lucy what she thought her school needed most. I suppose I expected her to answer as she always had: a classroom, a computer lab, a library, a school bus - but she didn't say any of those things. Instead, she said "a creativity curriculum." And so, WonderStudy was born.
Across the globe, we're struggling with ways to transform educational systems to prepare young people for a future that doesn't yet exist - and, more importantly, to give children the skills, inspiration and self-assuredness to create the most beautiful world they can imagine. WonderStudy is just one example of what might be possible.
Working with a technologist, a poet, a teacher and an activist, we created a one-month course that aims to inspire both confidence and creativity by giving kids the opportunity to create a possibility together. For one or two hours each day, classrooms of sixth, eighth and ninth graders conspire to create their own poetry, code, science experiments and social change projects - with hopes that by the end of the month, we'll have created a showcase of what the children have made possible.
- Sixth grade scientists Eileen, Beatrice and Naomi are experimenting with water filtration - and their classmate Goodluck wondered if he could invent something to filter the local irrigation system of contaminants as water moves downstream.
- Eighth grade technologists Fatina and Happyness have been working on writing pseudo-code for an SMS version of rochambeaux.
- Sixth grader Mercy wrote her first metaphor for homework: "My heart is a wall that cannot be broken."
- Ninth graders Leah and her friends are conspiring to create a Tanzanian Youth Parliament and, after a recent bombing on a nearby playground, sixth grade social change students are hoping to give a radio address to their community from the youth of Arusha about the importance of unity, peace & togetherness.
Each class is being co-taught by a visiting faculty member and a local teacher to enrich discussions and in hopes that WonderStudy will remain an ongoing part of the curriculum here.
The love, hope & gratitude you have poured into each classroom here has created a school that is so much more than brick buildings. It is a place that is fast becoming the kind of school we'd all want for our children - a place where kids learn not only basic skills, but most importantly of all that anything really is possible when we dare to make it so.
In fact, this is the slogan Leah & her classmates adopted for their newly-imagined youth parliament: "Yote Yana Wezekana" - all is possible. These children know this because of you. They know chickens are future classrooms, and children in tiny villages are future astronauts - because you told them this with every investment you've made in their education, and every time you believed they were worth it.
Yote Yana Wezekana.
Anything really is possible. Because of you.
I hope you'll join us for the rest of the month. We'll be sharing our journey on Instagram
and, when words find us before sleep, here on our newly-designed blog