A Vision for the Cade Campus
“The child starting kindergarten this fall will graduate in the third decade of the 21st century. All we can know about the world she will step into is that it will have challenges and opportunities beyond what we can imagine today, problems and possibilities that will demand creativity and ingenuity, responsibility and compassion. Whether this year’s kindergarten student will merely survive or positively thrive in the decades to come depends in large measure on the experiences she has in school. Those experiences will be shaped by adults, by peers, and ultimately by places, by the physical environments where she does her learning. United in the conviction that environment is our children’s third teacher, we can begin anew a vital mission designing today’s schools for tomorrow’s world.”
--The Third Teacher, opening sentences
I just sat down after a beautiful lunch under the oaks in Cade listening to Cy, an Acadian Folk group from Nova Scotia here to play at Festival International. I spoke to our guests and their families and they were amazed by the uniquely beautiful Cade campus. As we talked, groups of kids were gathering, eating lunch, playing goofy games, taking a break from the classroom. It reminded me of the quote above. One of the hallmarks of an ESA education is the uniqueness of physical environment, and that extends from the Cade campus to the Lafayette campus. The design ideals expressed in the above paragraph permeate how we think about ESA, the school, and education. Children are hard-wired to learn. It is a genetic imperative. When they learn in an environment that is filled with highly skilled, passionate and curious people and in interesting places and spaces, we believe that those characteristics that help them thrive will be more deeply instilled. It’s one of the guiding ideas behind the design of the LS Enrichment Center. It is a space meant to inspire children and adults to new ideas and solutions. And the early evidence is that it does just that. There is a palpable sense of pride and ownership in the students and faculty. It is fun to watch.
Having grown up on the Cade campus (at least professionally), I see similar things happening all the time. The environment produces one of the most unique and authentic experiences for students of any school in the country. Combine that with the high level interactions among students and teachers and it is a formula for success. And that is just what we have seen. Now it is time to look thoughtfully at the Cade campus and move it to the next phase of its evolution. We are beginning the process of visioning and planning for the future, making sure that we bring forward those ideas that help to define who we are and setting the stage for those kindergarten students who will graduate in ESA’s 50th year (#ESA50). We invite you all to be part of the process as we begin a series of design charrettes with the architects who will lead us. We have contracted with Abel Crozier Davis Architects, and we are also working with the landscape architect, Jeff Carbo, whose niece and nephew are graduates of ESA. Please join us at these charrettes or drop by and talk to me about what you think makes this place special. The ESA Faculty and Board will meet Monday May 15th, the student body will meet on May 16th and parents and alumni are invited to come out to Cade on May 17th. You will receive more info about time and location very soon. Areté!
“We are currently preparing children for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” --Karl Fisch