UW-Madison alumna Laura Kalmes is founding a new private elementary school in Bloomington, Ill., called Bloom Community School, the Pantagraph reports
Kalmes earned a master’s degree in 2009 and a Ph.D in 2015, both from from the School of Education's Department of Educational Policy Studies. Kalmes also earned a minor with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Bloom Community School will serve about 50 students from grades K-5 in its pilot year. Its academic curriculum is project-based, and children will be taught in mixed-age classrooms.
“It’s really based on the idea that learning is an integrated experience. To divide the way we learn into math, science and social studies is an artificial way to engage in learning,” Kalmes told the newspaper. “Project-based education helps prepare children to be the critical thinkers and solution makers we’ll need in our community moving forward."
The school will host examples of this project-based learning technique in summer session. One summer program is called "Feeding Our Future," and explores how to increase food access in the community. The students will learn about agriculture and locally-based foods while visiting farms and gardens, and will also work on literacy skills while writing and revising a cookbook as a final project.