Greenfield Center School Spreads the Joy of Learning

Greenfield Recorder, June 30, 2003

Picture a meeting of 141 students and their teachers. Five students sit in front of the group, raising their hands for the few seconds it takes for the group to be silent. They introduce themselves and announce, “Primes have sharing.”

Masumi reads her story The Animals on the Shipat graduation

Accompanied by their teacher, four students from the kindergarten-first grade classroom go up and read the stories they wrote as a culminating project during their study of boats. Masumi reads her story, The Animals on the Ship. “I am ready for questions and comments,” she says.

She calls on Oliver. Oliver says, “I liked the part where the animals helped each other.” “Thank you.” Masumi calls on Beth. Beth asks, “Did you write your story before or after you made the clay boat models?” “After,” Masumi responds. The audience claps, the readers return to their seats, and the student leaders announce the next sharing.

At Greenfield Center School (GCS), this meeting occurs every Wednesday morning, offering a forum for students to share their understanding of a topic. Next fall (September, 2003), GCS will share this and many other ideas with the teachers of the Lamprey River School in Raymond, NH as Lamprey teachers redesign their program.

Greenfield Center School (GCS) has been awarded a three-year contract with the State of New Hampshire to work with the Lamprey River School using the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). The goal of Coalition Schools is to help young people develop the habit of using their minds well. “This is a terrific opportunity for our school as we expand the number of students we can serve,” said Dr. Laura Baker, Director of GCS. “We are a Coalition School and in that role will now be able to lead other educators through the process of creating a school that is both effective and joyful.” GCS staff will run a workshop in August for the NH teachers and administrators. Once a month, the NH staff will visit the Center School to observe GCS classes.

For information about Coalition Schools see For information about Greenfield Center School, which has been teaching children and teachers since 1981, see

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