Lincoln Nursery School Partnership

About the Partnership

The partnership between deCordova and Lincoln Nursery School is the first of its kind at a contemporary art museum in the United States, 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. Inspired by the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, Lincoln Nursery School (LNS) believes that children find meaning, build connections, and reveal their theories about the world through inquiry, play, materials, and relationships.

DeCordova’s 30-acre campus affords daily interaction with nature, art, artists, and museum operations and staff, encouraging experiential learning through all of the senses, which is at the core of LNS’s mission and among deCordova’s principles. 

The studio classrooms offer a rich, exploratory environment for children. Teachers facilitate connections between the children’s interests and the many learning opportunities that deCordova offers. Regular meetings between LNS faculty and deCordova’s Learning & Engagement staff reinforce the institutions’ collaborative approaches as the educators work together to continuously support student inquiry and learning, using the museum campus, staff from various departments, changing exhibitions, and visiting contemporary artists as inspiration. Everyday engagements – whether a planned visit with an artist installing in the Museum or a fortuitous glimpse at a crane removing a sculpture the Park – have made deCordova an integral part of each child’s and family’s experience, informing the way they learn and explore both in and outside of school.

LNS and its progressive educational approach in turn inform deCordova’s development of programs where young people and parents discover and learn side-by-side, and where collaborative, participatory learning is promoted among museum visitors of all ages. DeCordova’s 2011 Strategic Plan describes the goal of becoming a leader among this country’s sculpture parks by 2016 in part by offering innovative curatorial and educational programming that includes the LNS partnership among other ongoing programming and facilities initiatives.

Lincoln Nursery School Experiences

In the fall of 2013, over one million feet of rope were delivered on pallets to the deCordova parking lot. A month later, Orly Genger’s Red,Yellow and Blue was installed by the artist and a team of ten preparators. Studio Yellow’s view from their classroom inspired months of exploration, research, and construction using blocks, yarn, rope, pencils, paint, fabric, photography, and a lot of creativity, inquiry, and ingenuity.

Children Reflecting on Artwork