Close your eyes. Begin to visualize the most wonderful hope or dream you could ever imagine for yourself or the ones you care about. Better yet, challenge yourself by dreaming of something for a complete stranger. Don’t limit yourself to something simple or easily satisfied. Aspire towards something huge, exciting, challenging, or rewarding. Now open your eyes!
The walls, ceilings, and windows of Maury Elementary School are brightly adorned with the Hopes & Dreams for the year ahead. Every student was asked to reflect on their own Hopes & Dreams during the first weeks of school. Envisioning Hopes & Dreams is a clever way to teach children to set high goals for themselves and build the skills necessary to accomplish them. Once a goal, hope, or dream, is established, the real work begins by asking students to take responsibility for their learning and recognize what they must do in order to reach such aspirations. In setting Hopes & Dreams, classes work together to create stronger culture and communities. They learn that they must work together to make wise decisions about their actions, behaviors, and work ethics.
In Ms. Bomba’s art studio, all students, young and younger, were asked to sketch what they hoped and dreamed about accomplishing as a member of the art studio. Hopes & Dreams ranged from sculpting eight-legged dogs out of clay to attending more fieldtrips to realizing world peace. Ceramic dogs and the end of all global conflict may seem like very different goals, but the road to reaching both is actually quite similar. In order to gain access to clay and sharp tools, students must demonstrate to Ms. Bomba that they are good listeners, team players, safe, and willing to accept challenges with an open mind. If students make decisions that contradict these actions, the likelihood of gaining access to precious materials diminishes. Achieving world peace also requires trust, the ability to listen to others, the promise of safety, and the ability to embrace compromise with people who may not see eye to eye with you.
Three-hundred and fifty triangular Hopes & Dreams dangle like Tibetan prayer flags in the gentle, air-conditioned breeze of Ms. Bomba’s art studio, serving as a reminder of the enlightened year to come. Just as the ancient symbols inscribed on the Buddhist flags offer compassion, fulfillment, and positive energy, let our artistic representations of Maury’s Hopes & Dreams bring harmony, empathy, and achievement with the flurry of active and creative minds at work below.