Valley's Collaboratory is a physical space set up to put students into a deeply creative mindset. Surrounded by fun (mostly recycled) materials, students work on solving open-ended challenges with their peers. They try things that don't work out. They try again. They improve their designs. They catch inspiration from a friend. They discover things by accident. They end up in a different place than they started. They have fun. They use googly eyes on almost everything. Most importantly, they are learning how to learn through their investigations and discoveries. The Collaboratory is a magical space where playful learning thrives.
Recently students from each class worked together to create a herd of moose out of found materials. Finding inspiration in the moose made by their school mates, Kindergarteners and 2nd graders quickly began their playful work of making their own moose. Boxes were taped together, fur was made from crushed pasta, and soon exciting additions were made (hats, beards, and wings!). The most common phrase heard was “I have an idea!” which was almost always met with the words “Can I help?”. Indeed, spend any length of time in the Collaboratory and it’s clear how the space got its name.