True learners are multidimensional, they are passionately curious about the world around them. Leonardo da Vinci was one such learner. The quintessential Renaissance man, da Vinci was a scientist, inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, cartographer, mathematician, musician- the list goes on. da Vinci had an insatiable curiosity about the world around him. He is still highly regarded as a brilliant creative genius, his thirst for learning is just as relevant today as it was 500 years ago. One question I couldn’t help but ask as I learned about da Vinci: Is the current school system set up to foster the da Vinci’s of the world?
We often assume that because a schools offer a variety of subjects, that we are creating a population of individuals who will excel in a range of subject areas. The problem with this notion is that children don’t really excel at any of them because they aren’t given the opportunity to become passionately curious about any of them. 25-45 minute subject periods guided by boxed curriculum doesn’t give students enough time or resources to become captivated by learning. These blocks of time are dedicated toward subjects that prepare students for one thing: testing.
Children need the freedom to explore areas of passion. They need to be allowed to view learning through the lens of life. They need to be shown that subjects of learning are not really separate entities, but rather that learning is multidimensional, overlapping and interwoven.
When I look at all that da Vinci accomplished, it is apparent to me that this is someone who understood that all learning is life, it is connected. I suspect that da Vinci didn’t set out to be a jack-of-all-trades; I suspect that he set out to learn and as he learned, it led to other disciplines, interests and knowledge. What resulted: a man who was able to use his unique talents and gifts to change the world.
If we send all students through the exact same subjects, the exact same way, to meet the requirements on the same test, do we have any hope of fostering students who are able to use their unique talents and gifts to change the world? Or, will they graduate from high school with a degree that sends them into the next system where they are now expected to undo all the learning that has made them look the same and decide what makes the unique?
I’m sending out a call to create the da Vinci culture. Anastasis Academy capitalizes on the overlaps in learning and the transdisciplinary nature of life. It aims to create a culture of learners that are passionately curious, creative and innovative. We seek to create a da Vinci culture that helps students discover who God created them to be.