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Engaging Lower School Learners in Deeper Learning via Imaginative Inquiry

Date: Tuesday - April 28, 2020
Time: 8:45 AM to 2:45 PM
Location: Zoom

272 Sixth Avenue (at Bleecker Street), New York, NY 10014  map
Presenters: Elaine Chu, Jessie Kirk
Grades K-5 


Developed in the United Kingdom, Imaginative Inquiry is a pedagogy based on the idea that children's' imagination is our greatest resource in the classroom, placing it center stage as a powerful tool for learning. Within a community of inquiry, teachers and students create exciting and meaningful contexts for learning, using conventions of theatre such as point of view, tension, and narrative, to explore curricular objectives. Students are not merely passive observers of the stories of our world, but are collectively invited to take action in the realm of possibility that Imaginative Inquiry provides. 

This one-day workshop is aimed at introducing elementary school teachers (grades K-5) to the  elements of Imaginative Inquiry. We will model and examine how we have used Imaginative Inquiry in our Social Studies curriculum, which focuses on the early history of New York. Additional information about how Imaginative Inquiry informs our curriculum design and aligns with other approaches (e.g. a design-maker ethos) can be seen here.

Participants will be introduced firsthand to the process of Imaginative Inquiry, begin to analyze and practice using the methods themselves, discuss the rationale of using an Imaginative Inquiry framework in light of progressive practices and pedagogy, and begin to design an Imaginative Inquiry infused lesson/unit for their own curriculum.

Schedule of the day




Welcome and Overview


Introduction - Imaginative Inquiry lesson(s)


Active Learning Workshop: Engaging in Inquiry Learning


Lunch and conversations with students about impact of  Imaginative Inquiry


Active Learning Workshop (Part 2) and designing curriculum


Debrief and Next Steps

Elaine Chu has fifteen years' experience teaching in independent and public elementary schools in New York City. Currently on leave from her position as a Third Grade Teacher at the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, Elaine offers professional development to teachers and administrators on developing social studies curricula using an Imaginative Inquiry approach. She has worked in the field of education throughout her professional career, designing curricula and professional development programs for schools and museums, and has worked internationally to help create educational infrastructure in developing countries. She is an alumna of Tufts University and Bank Street College.


Jessie Kirk is a third grade teacher at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. Prior to teaching at LREI, Jessie taught at The Learning Project in Boston, and at Bank Street School for Children and Growing Up Green Charter School in New York. She has a B.A. in Human Development from Connecticut College, and a M.S.Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College of Education. 


 Register here

Fee includes Continental breakfast, lunch and all materials.

Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event

  • NYSAIS members - $220.00
  • Non-members - $265.00

Early Discount of $20.00 applies until 4 weeks before the event.

Late Fee of $20.00 will apply within 4 days of the event.

* Note: Payment is by credit card only.

Questions about registration should be directed to

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