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Recently, I had the privilege of visiting two schools of our customers in West Virginia. We have worked closely with both schools, MUEE (Marshall University Early Education) Stem School and Explorer Academy, to create learning environments that connect to their curriculum, as well as to their values. It is always such a joy to to meet the students and educators who benefit from our environments and doing so helps me feel a deeper connection to our work. Our passion is to make beautiful, innovative, healthy environments accessible to children of all backgrounds, and it is incredibly rewarding to see the fruits of our labor in person. I only wish I could make these visits more often.

Explorer Academy is a Pre-K-5 public school that exemplifies the belief that learning environments should encourage teachers and students to be at their best. During my visit, it was so satisfying to see how our furniture helps the school advance their innovative curriculum and witness the learning environment that supports their values of self-discovery, collaboration, and respect for nature. I am grateful to Principal Ryan Mackenzie, for welcoming me into his school and for allowing me to spend time with the students. I also appreciate learning firsthand about Explorer’s innovative curriculum from Green Schools National Network executive director, Jenny Seydel, under whom I have the honor of serving on the board. Learn more about the incredible work of the Green Schools National Network.

MUEE, a Reggio inspired, STEAM preschool, under the guidance of Stan and Barbara Maynard, serves as an incubator school for educators all over West Virginia. Its goal is to impart “effective strategies and techniques for educational care” through professional development and sharing best practices. During my visit at MUEE, I was able to spend time with program director, Tarabeth Blumfield, Annette Brumfield and the educational team and witnessed firsthand their incredible creative, inquiry based curriculum.

It was truly inspiring to see the documentation of learning in these forward thinking, child-centered schools. My visit to West Virginia reenergized my desire to create better learning environments that will, not only inspire future leaders, but ones that will also foster the educators’ desire to innovate and explore new ways of teaching. I am so grateful to everyone I spent time with for sharing their vision and their passion with me but, above all, I am thankful for all they do for the children.