During the month of November, we’re celebrating Education here at Medalta – but if you stop by any day Monday to Friday, you’ll often hear school children on a quest to find a certain machine or in the midst of a clay project. Heading up all of our fabulous education programming is Carolyn Freeman, a lady after our own curious heart! Carolyn’s commitment to providing high quality programming is one of the many reasons why we’re so lucky to have her hanging out here 5 days a week. Here is her take on the work she carries out here:

I can hear them before I can see them. The questions, the laughter, and the “organized chaos” that accompany every group of children entering Medalta, echoes throughout the building.

“What’s that?”

“I’ve been here before!”

“Do we get to make something out of clay?”

Another learning adventure in the Historic Clay District (or should we say “Play” District?) has begun…

The students’ enthusiasm, excitement, curiousity and energy are infectious and are what I look forward to everyday. Children love to learn, explore, create and get messy. Here at Medalta, all of these are possible! Imagine the educational (and fun!) opportunities exploring a dusty pottery factory – full of working machines and heritage artefacts; working in a beehive kiln; walking the spur line train tracks; meeting ceramic artists from around the world; digging for clay samples at a clay processing factory; pedalling a kiln car through a tunnel kiln in an abandoned brick plant or creating with clay…

Here at Medalta, and in the surrounding clay district, we have tremendous opportunities to link

the educational curriculum to the history, geography, science, technology and stories of early industry. It is always rewarding to work with teachers to create unique learning activities for students ranging in age from 3-18 years. Our programs are not “pre-packaged” – each class experience is crafted by the teacher and me and is individualized to meet the learning objectives of each specific class. I am truly fortunate to work with these enthusiastic teachers and with talented and generous co-workers who share their time and talents with the children. Students may be seen slip-casting with Lisa Miklash, one of our heritage potters; watching Annette Unger deftly decorating bowls in the production studio; visiting renowned artist Jim Marshall in his studio; making bricks and exploring the I-XL brick plant with former supervisor, Al Dillman; investigating the A. T. Schlachter Collection with the collector himself; learning about electric circuits by creating musical gears with Aaron Nelson; making clay creations with Jane MacKay, ceramic artist and valuable volunteer; or visiting the resident artists at the SHAW centre. We are also fortunate to belong to the NASA museum alliance and receive exciting resources to take our learning “to infinity and beyond”!

Whether students are here for a few hours or a few days, engagement is the key. Our goal is to imagine possibilities, inspire learning and ignite curiousity. During their Medalta experiences, students are challenged to learn something new about Medalta that they didn’t know before and create hypotheses based on what they already know. Critical and creative thinking and problem solving is encouraged! Listening to student conversations as they collaborate and watching them learn is the best part of my job!

Learning @ Medalta is an enriching experience for all – especially me 🙂