The real story behind Workshop Education began in my childhood. I was incredibly bored in school sitting still and filling out worksheets. It was a long eight years of elementary school. Then I went to a high school that encouraged discussion and hands-on learning. It was like night and day. I decided then to make my life's work to create meaningful learning experiences for children.
I worked as a curriculum developer, teacher, and teacher trainer with that goal in mind. In 2009, I was writing curriculum for NASA while experiencing first hand what is was like to figure out a child's after school schedule.
I found the jigsaw puzzle of coordinating enrichment classes and sports to be challenging, and sometimes I couldn't get the pieces to fit. Every eight to ten weeks was a new round of scanning and sign ups. I would get everything set up. Then the soccer practice day would change, and I would lose my money on the enrichment class. Or we would both think my son would like a class, and then sometimes he would not. A weekly struggle or wasted money - neither were appealing.
Also, I wished my son was learning skills that I knew from my years as a teacher were difficult to fit into the school day. There were other interesting enrichment classes after school, but none that taught the skills that I felt to be most important to lead happy and successful lives. These abilities were ~
I thought . . .
So I set out to create it. Starting at my son's school with two students (one of them my son!), we designed the first Workshop enrichment classes to complement the school day. The picture above is me teaching of the first innovation enrichment classes focusing on writing. Children were accessing high quality enrichment classes, but with their friends from school, with no extra driving, and with easy coordination with sports, plays, day care, or other activities and classes on campus.
My first hire, to teach with me from day one, was Susie Cresci, who is now our director.
Word spread, other schools requested the program, and our talented team of educators grew. At the end of 2019, we have served 2,279 students. Through the years, we have stayed laser focused on our initial goal - providing a menu of enrichment classes offering thoughtful curriculum with flexible scheduling.
We have enjoyed the partnership with parents who care deeply about their children's learning and with the children who continue to amaze us with their creativity and problem solving.