What does it take to be named one of the most innovative schools in the entire world? Just ask the founders of New York City's Blue School, who actually co-created the performance art phenomenon Blue Man Group more than a decade before deciding to build an educational program that embodies that same boundless energy and rule-breaking creativity. Since it first entered the scene back in 2006, the independent school for two-year-olds through eighth grade has been named one of the thirteen most innovative global schools by Business Insider and one of just six selected by Wired magazine.
Located in lower Manhattan, the oh-so-modern Blue School campus is filled with unexpected spaces including a "Wonder Room," an Upcycling Center, and a double-height Materials Library. Meanwhile, thoughtfully designed classrooms; designated lab spaces for studio art, STEAM, science, music, and drama; a gymnasium and performing arts space; and the outdoor roof and terrace are all equally reflective of the school's mission to provide students with endless opportunities for collaboration, exploration, and self-expression. (You can see for yourself at an upcoming open house or admissions tour.) Across the campus, you'll find two-year-olds exploring materials by digging their toes into mounds of clay; third graders writing non-fiction pieces about Westward Expansion through the eyes of animals who bared witness; and fifth graders studying social justice through independent research into the unknown stories of known activists.
"In building our program, we remove the kinds of educational practices that we believe are not working so well and amp up the 'best practices' and innovations that we believe have great promise," explains Blue School and Blue Man Group co-founder, Matt Goldman, in his recent TED Talk. "We draw from powerful influences, old and new, and recombine these influences with cutting-edge research and a few of our own flourishes to create something the world has never seen. And like Blue Man Productions, we want to have a good time doing it."
The inquiry-driven program aims to strike a dynamic balance between academic mastery, creative thinking, and self and social intelligence in order to instill a passion for learning that lasts students a lifetime. Drawing from the Reggio Emilia philosophy; the newest research in education, human development, and neuroscience; and the current global climate; Blue School prides itself in being ever-evolving, while focusing on its core values of exploration, play, creativity, self-awareness, family, and community connection. 96% of the school's carefully selected teachers have advanced degrees in their field, and alums have received acceptances from some of the top high schools across NYC.
Right now, Blue School offers a pre-primary program for children ages two to four, a kindergarten through eighth grade primary program, and a middle school for sixth to eighth graders, as well as after school options beginning in kindergarten. This year, the school has also expanded into a second building at 156 William Street that will serve upper-primary and middle school students, while the original 241 Water Street location has been reconfigured to exclusively serve the pre-primary and primary students.
Want to learn more about Blue School or snag a first look at the brand new building? The fall 2018 pre-primary and primary open house is coming up on October 17, 2018 from 6:00-7:30 pm at 241 Water Street, and the upper-primary and middle school open house will be on November 1, 2018 from 6:00-7:30 pm at 156 William Street. You can also schedule a tour online, or visit the Blue School website for even more information about this unique, progressive program.