Venture 1st Grader Enjoys Hands-on Learning in London

Rowan Bullock Vaughan is a 1st grader in Springs’ Venture Online Program. Her mother is an art teacher, which gives Rowan the opportunity to spend time in London, England, where her mother teaches a study abroad semester for college students.

Because of the flexibility and support of Venture, Rowan has been able to follow her interests to have real-world, hands-on experiences which take advantage of the rich educational opportunities in London. She visits museums and uses them as sites for hands-on learning. She has copied paintings on-site at famous British museums, including the National Gallery and Tate Britain. Favorites include John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shallot.

She read Papa Piccolo, a story about a cat in Venice, Italy, for her Venture kindergarten literature curriculum and was able to identify paintings of Venice in the National Gallery.

The family tries to integrate various site visits with reading and experiential learning. When Rowan was interested in pirates, she read Treasure Island and visited a replica of the Golden Hinde, an English galleon moored in London. Additionally, Rowan studied maps of Sir Francis Drake’s routes of exploration, learned about the Spanish Armada and viewed portraits of Drake and Queen Elizabeth I in the National Portrait Gallery. She also made a treasure map and buried coins in her back garden.

This year, Rowan is focusing on science and natural history taking advantage of the many exhibits and artifacts in London’s Science and Natural History museums. When she spotted a parakeet out her living room window, she researched how these non-native birds arrived in London, learned about how they survive in the city and about native predators that now use them as a food source. Rowan has done drawings of the birds and their new ecosystem.

Other interests that blend well with life in England include dance and musical theater; while in London, she studies singing, acting and dance with West End professionals at the Pineapple Performing Arts Academy in Covent Garden.

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