Teachers take the lead: Starting Treasure Box Libraries in Somerville Public Schools

March 8, 2022

Child building a mosaic

I just finished up teaching my latest Professional Development for teachers in Somerville (Mass) Public Schools. Once a month since November I met (on zoom) with fourteen teachers from five different schools to envision how to create a “library” of classroom sets of treasure boxes in each school so teachers could access them easily and on their own schedule for use with their students. Most of the participating teachers were seasoned treasure box users who have invited us into their classrooms with our treasure boxes for years now. They have already witnessed the joy, engaged play, and profound learning these boxes offer young students. So we began with shared experience and understanding.

Going in to teaching this workshop I knew these “libraries” would look different In each school given space constraints and other factors. We spent a part of every session meeting in break out rooms with school teams to plan their own road maps for this endeavor. Indeed each of the five schools has a unique plan but they all have a “library” up and running in their own way.

It is very gratifying for me to see teachers taking the lead and expanding on our work with them. One school applied for a grant and received funds to buy all the accompanying children’s books that we recommend to have in their treasure box library. Another school is engaging older students to model the use of the treasure boxes for younger classes.

This new model makes sense for us as we all grapple with the new realities in schools and it offers a chance for teachers to take more ownership over the process.

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