Pluralistic Perspectives Day 2: Beginnings
Every person, every place, every idea has a beginning. In the field of early education, every teacher will tell you about the importance of a strong beginning. It is this base that provides the foundation for the future. And this idea of beginnings was a theme I found myself returning to over and over again today.
This morning we had the opportunity to visit the museum at the Weizmann Institute. This museum had great examples and representations of the work that is currently happening here and the work that has been accomplished. But what I found the most profound were the stories from the scientists about how they became interested in science. Whether it was the failure of doing poorly in a class, or learning that a friend’s mom was sick, each scientist was able to identify a singular moment early in their life that helped form them into the professional they are today. As educators, we are helping to create these moments every single day – whether intentional or accidental.
Later we visited the Science Playground which is also at the Weizman Institute. This was a phenomenal example of how science can be fun. We all interacted with these different exhibits, and through playful inquiry we found ourselves exploring, examining, and discovering new things. It is all too easy to say that science is hard or that ‘I’m not good at science,’ but this was a great example of how science can be presented in a fun and inviting manner. If we can create this introduction and beginning with children – that science is fun – we can help shift this all too often thinking process.
In the late afternoon we arrived in Jerusalem. Looking out across the city you can see countless beginnings. Each era, each religion, each culture leaving its mark on the city. Some beginnings thousands of years old and some new. The city is an amazing juxtaposition of past and present, filled with archeological sites and new construction.
As we looked out across the city we had a picnic of goods we had picked up at the Carmel Market in the Nahalat Binyamin neighborhood earlier in the day. In addition to the food market there was also an artist market. As with much art, I found myself thinking about the different works. Like the scientists, each artist has a story about how they found inspiration.
It makes me think about how is this trip a beginning for me? I am learning lots of history and culture now, but what seed of an idea, thought, or belief is being planted? I look forward to looking back years from now and starting a story by saying, “this began from my trip to Israel…”