Eric Stevens » Eric Stevens

Eric Stevens

Science Specialist
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Elementary Education from the University of Louisville. Still, my most important early education came from my family and working with children in a variety of capacities, from babysitting to home daycare to assisting in a Montessori classroom. Though I come from a family of teachers, I resisted the calling until I realized that teaching and learning alongside young people was what I found most rewarding and fulfilling. I have been at the Virginia Chance School for the past 22 years, teaching Kindergarten, then a K/1 classroom for my first 16 years here. For the past six years, I have been the Science specialist for the entire school.
I was invited to apply at Chance through a student teaching connection. I count my arrival here as one of the luckiest days of my life. The progressive model of education is one that makes so much sense to me. It mirrors my own experience of learning by doing. And while I had a wealth of experience with kids before coming to Chance, my education here has been rich and deep. We get to help children learn how to think about their learning and thinking, give them a structure in which to pursue interests, and a foundation upon which to try and fail and try again.
My move to becoming the Science specialist was a very natural step for me because of my long and abiding interest in the subject. Science touches all areas of our lives. Children naturally want to understand how the world around them works. I naturally want to help them. Before the word “science” was coined, this area of study was sometimes referred to as the “Natural Philosophy,” literally, a philosophy of the natural world. While we can (and do) learn many things indoors, we have incredible outdoor learning opportunities on our 26-acre campus that includes a wooded area, open spaces, and running waters. The students build intuitive understandings of many concepts from their experiences...experiences that undergird the explicit instruction and discussion aroused by our activity. It is powerful and deep learning.
An especially interesting aspect of learning at Chance has been our school-wide thematic studies. With the whole school delving deeply into a topic, we are all immersed in a subject through information and experience. Much learning occurs between students. With our combined age classrooms, new depths of learning are plumbed as learners become teachers of their peers. Older students often present to younger classrooms as well. We understand these kinds of role model interactions between students are particularly meaningful, just as we understand that peer learning is happening informally in free play at all times. It’s a beautiful thing.
Outside of school, I enjoy camping, kayaking, gardening, reading, crosswords, spending time with family and friends, learning new things, campfires, volleyball, and art & craft.