Museums, Public Spaces, and Life-long Learning

February 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

posted by Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas

There is lovely snow falling in Austin, TX, today.  It is taking me back in time to my Bank Street Graduate School years.  I taught Caribbean immigrants in Brooklyn, holding a City Naturalists Fellowship my second year.  My class went on many, many field trips throughout the city. We learned so much together.

Now it is 2010.  I am a mother and life coach.  My daughter’s class has a field trip today.  A sack lunch was procured and left on the kitchen counter overnight while a note on the bathroom door reminded her to transfer items from the refrigerator.  I meet the class at the museum, walking from my car through the enchanting and rare snow.  We go up and down the staircase, looking at fossils from various parts of Texas and the world, learning about the HIV virus and genomes.  I struggle to remember the name of a favorite book about a boy and his raccoon from my childhood when a young girl shows me a stuffed raccoon.  Rascal!  I am enchanted by a university art student who is painting murals along shadow box walls.  My daughter hugs me and together we try to identify a fossil.  Her teacher notices a group from another school who have clipboards – we ask them what they are recording and I share with her the curriculum I used to develop.  I connect with a mother from another school whose dyslexic child struggles yet again with an unmodified assignment.

Museums are lovely places for educating all of us throughout our lifespans.  I love our smaller, local treasures because they are just the right size for my growing family.  When the trip ends I wave to them as they leave on the bus and I head to work.

A few hours later, my daughter and son arrive back home on their school bus.  They are exalted by the snow, the day, ready for snack.  My son, not to be outshone by his older sister, brags about the field trip he will be taking on Friday.

Claire is a spiritual life coach in Austin, Texas.  She works with individuals and groups, and also conducts teleclasses and corporate events.  For more information, check out her website at

Entry filed under: community, constructivism, dialogue, families, museums.

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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