As part of being on the deCordova grounds, LNS children and teachers regularly use the campus and surrounding conservation land as their classroom. Throughout the year, children observe and respond to changing installations of sculpture, the work of staff and visiting artists, and the seasons. The children’s voices have come to inform the deCordova’s interpretive installations and programs with a creative and collaborative spirit–an approach focused on discovery through experience rather than delivery of information.
The deCordova/LNS partnership is the first of its kind at an American contemporary art museum and was recently named one of the “most innovative projects in the country” by the American Association of Museum’s Center for the Future of Museums.
September 2010 marked the dynamic beginning of a unique partnership between deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, a contemporary art organization located 20 miles northwest of Boston, and Lincoln Nursery School (LNS), a cooperative preschool for two- to six-year olds established in 1944. After a long history of class visits to the Sculpture Park and Museum, LNS and deCordova developed a pilot program that integrated one of the four LNS classes onto deCordova’s campus. From the studio classroom, re-designed to offer an environment of exploration connected to the Park and Museum and student and teachers interests, art, visitors, artists, and projects became part of the children’s everyday learning.
In 2012, the Boards of both institutions voted to become full partners, with Lincoln Nursery School moving its classrooms to deCordova for the start of the 2012-13 school year.
“What you’ll see today is the culmination of this collaborative effort. It’s really a one-to-one representation of the school, because each child painted a screen that’s roughly their size, and so you’ll see them stand together as a community, and then we’ll populate it…” – Stephanie Cardon