The Museum Partnership Program of Palm Beach Day Academy began with a vision and a healthy dose of optimism. PBDA already held established relationships with local cultural and historical institutions. We sought to further enhance those relationships through creating a yearlong study centered around the museum partnership as an approach to further enhancing the curriculum. From an educator’s perspective, museums were a natural choice because they offered powerful learning opportunities through the magic of encountering a work of art, a collection, and various artifacts within a unique learning environment.
Schools and museums are distinct entities which naturally complement one another. They are both educational in nature, facilitating engagement and promoting learning. They both employ educators, who seek to leave a lasting imprint on those who walk through their doors. It is not surprising that partnerships often arise between these two institutions. Successful and effective partnerships require purposeful design and mindful implementation.
Forging collaborative relationships with local museums provides our students with another format to further develop specific thinking skills and habits, such as the power of observation and a sense of wonder. Our teachers work closely with museum directors and specialists to develop a yearlong study that includes field trips and reflective classroom sessions.
The First Grade Team piloted the initial Museum Partnership Program on the Lower Campus in 2011-2012. Working closely with museum educators from Flagler Museum and the Morikami Museum and Japanese gardens, the teachers and learning specialist crafted a scope and sequence that focused on the theme of Community. The program expanded and currently there are five museum partnerships in place on the Lower Campus.
Primary ~ Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Kindergarten ~ Norton Museum of Art
Second Grade ~ Mounts Botanical Garden
Third Grade ~ Food for the Poor
Mu-SEE-uM: Mapping A Change in Thinking - a post on the Official Thinking Maps blog highlighting Kindergarten's partnership with the Norton Museum of Art.
Teachers Matter magazine - Designing Effective Museum Partnerships by Rochelle Ibanez Wolberg and Donna Tobey, Head of Lower School at PBDA
Journal of Museum Education - Thinking Routines: Replicating Classroom Practices within Museum Settings by Rochelle Ibanez Wolberg and Allison Goff, Education Director at the Flagler Museum