by DeeGee Lester | Photography by Tiffani Bing

Can you imagine the impact on your own educational experience if museum professionals had visited your school every week, bringing with them all sorts of interesting objects to explore and sharing their expertise and enthusiasm? That’s the weekly experience of students at Robert Churchwell Elementary Museum Magnet through an innovative program called Monday Mix. Moving beyond the confines of traditional education, second-year principal Jahi Rohrer points out that “students are exposed to myriad learning experiences that enrich the core curriculum, broaden their horizons, and beckon for a more critical and creative eye.”

Educators and curators from organizations as varied in scope as Fort Negley, Belle Meade Plantation, the Parthenon, and Mr. Bond the Science Man converge on the school for two hours each Monday to interact with eager young minds. It’s a noisy invasion of animals, antique toys, and art for hands-on exploration amid the “oohs” and “aahs” and occasional “what’s that?” And it’s an early introduction to the rich variety of resources available to them as they continue through Metro schools. The program enriches children and fulfills a major goal of teachers.

“Every teacher wants to send students forward with a love for learning, problem solving skills, and a motivating fascination for the world,” says science teacher Anna Handy. “At Robert Churchwell, we have the opportunity to actually show our kids that learning happens in varied settings, in varied ways, and that the world, and specifically Nashville, is an intriguing place. The Monday Mix gives our students an opportunity to interact with artifacts, demonstrations, animals and more from inspiring organizations and adults in the Nashville community.” Most importantly, Rohrer points out, children learn that “Learning Is Fun!”

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