“Inspiring and preparing young people to live consciously with themselves, one another, and the planet.”
This is the mission statement from James Cameron and wife Suzy Cameron’s innovative school, MUSE. The concept behind MUSE came about after Suzy, a global environmental activist, mother of 5, and proud wife, grew tired of watching her older children struggle in the traditional education system, and sought an alternative and more environmentally aware option for her youngest.
This is when Suzy teamed up with her sister, Rebecca Amis, a past collaborator in child-centered schools, to build a school that fit Suzy’s forward-thinking vision of childhood education.
MUSE launched in 2006 and has since grown to be a remarkable revisualization of the education system, inspiring both parents and children to take an active role in the future and sustainability of our planet.
What Makes MUSE Stand Out From Other Schools?
Learning is a process that can feed a child’s desire to learn more. With this in mind, MUSE’s teachers, students, and their parents collaborate to develop curricula based on each child’s own passions. The result of this collaboration is the development of individual learning plans that are authentic, academic, and rooted in real-world experiences that involve community experts, mentors, and groups.
These individual learning plans encourage students to develop in a “direction they love” — while living consciously with themselves, one another, and the planet.
Focus On Sustainability
Sustainability is a major focus for MUSE. They model sustainability every day through gardening, composting, permaculture, recycling, upcycling, repurposing, and more. As an added bonus, MUSE’s buildings are toxin free.
Furthermore, the surrounding landscape offers ample space for everything from group play and outdoor education to solo exploration and solitary reflection.
When it comes to food, MUSE does it right. Students help grow and prepare the daily organic snacks and lunches. Doing so helps children connect to their food, to see the links between the environment and their health, and to understand the value of staying fit and eating sensibly.
Unique Teacher/Student Relationships
MUSE believes that teaching is subordinate to learning. In fact, as a lesson or experience unfolds, they often see adults and children naturally and easily swap teacher/student roles, building mutual respect for each other in the process.
MUSE teachers are perceptive communicators and collaborators, adept at interpreting children’s dreams and translating them into stimulating learning experiences.
A Vision To Change The Way We Educate Our Children
MUSE is striving to transform education on a global scale, moving the learning process towards a larger focus in sustainability. With sister MUSE schools popping up around the world, MUSE is fostering the growth of creative thinkers and problem solvers who are keenly attuned to preserving our planet.
What Education Levels Does MUSE Offer?
MUSE offers education starting from early childhood development all the way up to high school. On top of that, they offer after school and summer programs.
Elementary curriculum is creative, compelling, and shaped around the students’ own interests. MUSE teachers are highly adept at weaving math, science, and language arts into the group and individual projects that support any given learning plan. They also frequently enlist support in their daily work, accessing a variety of mentors and outside experts to help students see the connections between their own interests, academics, and the real world.
Moving into high school, education becomes more centered around 5 pillars of curriculum, including sustainability, communication, self-efficacy, passion based learning, and traditional academics.
MUSE aims at fostering graduates who become bold leaders fully prepared to face challenges, to live beyond complacency, and to embrace learning and change throughout their lives.
The One Downfall
The concept of MUSE is awe-inspiring in many regards, especially considering the state of education today and the need for more progressive approaches to learning. But there is one thing keeping MUSE from being attainable for most, and that is the cost.
Tuition costs for elementary school to high school come in at around $100, 000 USD, a price tag unreachable for most families. If only we could allocate money currently being spent on preposterous things, such as war, and put it in the right places, such as supporting innovative and sustainable education programs, then perhaps we would see a more ideal global paradigm become a reality.
Nevertheless, MUSE stands as hopeful inspiration for the future of education. If this concept gains momentum, perhaps we will see more funding and more efforts to make this type of education standard and available for all.
What are you thoughts on MUSE’s education concept? Share with us in the comment section below!