DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is pleased to announce that as of September 2012 the Museum's campus has become the new home of Lincoln Nursery School. This announcement follows the approval of deCordova's 2011–2016 Strategic Plan.
September 2010 marked the dynamic beginning of a unique partnership between deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, a contemporary art organization located 20 miles northwest of Boston, and Lincoln Nursery School (LNS), a cooperative preschool for two- to five-year olds located in Lincoln for over sixty years. After a long history of class visits to the Sculpture Park and Museum, LNS and deCordova developed a pilot program that integrated one of the four LNS classes onto deCordova’s campus. From the studio classroom, re-designed to offer an environment of exploration connected to the Park and Museum and student and teachers interests, art, visitors, artists, and projects became part of the children’s everyday learning.
During the second pilot class year in 2011-12, the Boards of both institutions voted to become full partners, with Lincoln Nursery School moving its additional three classrooms to deCordova for the start of the 2012-13 school year. The deCordova/LNS pilot program is the first of its kind at an American contemporary art museum and was recently named one of the "most innovative projects in the country" by the American Association of Museum’s Center for the Future of Museums.
Lincoln Nursery School is inspired by the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, where the educational philosophy has long been based on the belief that children find meaning, build connections, and reveal their theories about the world through inquiry, play, materials, and relationships. DeCordova’s 35-acre campus affords daily interaction with nature, art, artists, museum systems, and museum staff, encouraging experiential learning through all of the senses, which is at the core of LNS’s mission and among deCordova’s principles.
The LNS partnership and the Reggio Emilia approach in turn inform deCordova’s development of programs where young people and parents can discover and learn side-by-side, as well as its general approach to interactive group learning by visitors of all ages to deCordova. DeCordova’s Strategic Plan describes the goal of becoming a leader among this country’s sculpture parks by 2016 by, in part, offering a innovative curatorial and educational programming that includes the LNS partnership among other ongoing and future initiatives for the full range of museum visitors.
This unique partnership allows both institutions to connect visual education, play, and the exploration of materials with the development of creativity within the preschool audience. One example of how this has occurred involves the current 2011/2012 class. Early in September the children visited the Museum and discovered Soo Sunny Park and Spencer Topel’s Capturing Resonance installation and began making sense of the piece through play, storytelling, and exploration.
Children's response to Capturing Resonance:
“What is it?"
“I feel scared”
“Makes me shake like a volcano.”
"It’s shaking and shaking and shaking.”
"Feels like it is coming alive.”
The months following this conversation have been filled with many trips back to what the children called the ‘sea serpent,' an exploration of transparent and translucent materials in the classroom, a sculptural creation of a sea serpent in the classroom, paintings, and correspondence with the artists. These are just a few of the ways that the children have explored this piece, which they continue to do today.
Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and experiences!