Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child: The Philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins, an educational exhibit created by Hawkins Centers of Learning, celebrates and brings to life the work of this remarkable couple. To this day, David’s educational approaches, largely informed by Frances’ insightful classroom observations, inspire professionals worldwide.  David’s theories have been foundational to the renowned schools for young children in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and are expressed in many other venues. Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child is both a tribute to Frances and David and a vehicle to spread their very timely message.

The exhibit illustrates four of David’s central ideas, using descriptions and photos of actual student projects:

“Eolithism,” the use of existing resources, is expressed through a 1973 project in which elementary-aged students studied Varsity Pond on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.  Not restricted to following specified areas of study, instead following their own multiple fascinations, the children pursued many subjects that would not have been found together in any textbook.  The exhibit’s description and photos are drawn from the book, “David Hawkins and the Pond Study,” by Elizabeth T. Kellogg.

“Messing About,” the process of using unscripted explorations of materials to guide learning, is told through the story of young children who begin a journey of varied learning experiences by simply exploring rocks.  Their interests in incorporating the rocks into their drawings and studies of balance inspire their work over three years, laying the foundation for designing and constructing a castle for the classroom.

“I, Thou, It,” adult and child together absorbed in a shared interest, is conveyed by the story of a teacher (“I”) searching for a context in which toddlers (“Thou”) can engage with different manifestations of light (“It”).  Once the context is found, deeper connections between teacher and student follow.

“Teacher as Learner” posits that teachers who themselves have “messed about” with materials are better able to enrich unstructured learning experiences of their students.  Reliance on predesigned curricula for most lessons leaves teachers less likely to intentionally support their students’ natural explorations of materials.  In this exhibit story, a teacher who has explored the concept of balance in playful activity then supports a child’s inquiry.

Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child: The Philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins is designed to engage, provoke, and inspire.  If you are already familiar with the life and work of Frances and David Hawkins, come to experience a rich variety of their legacy in action.  If you are new to David and Frances, come to discover how teachers and children can be deeply engaged together in the mutual exercise of curiosity.

The Hawkins Centers of Learning exhibit,  “Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child: The Philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins,” will be hosted by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, beginning on February 13, 2014, continuing through April 4.

In Canada, the exhibit is now at the Acorn School, 1061 Elgin Mills Rd. E, Richmond Hill, Ontario.


Please follow this page for information about ongoing venues.