Hollywood Values in the Classroom

Suzy Amis Cameron, spouse of Avatar director James Cameron, has co-founded a new school, Muse Elementary, in greater Los Angeles. Maureen Harrington of the Los Angeles Times interviewed Ms. Cameron for details concerning the school.

We learn that for students at the pre-K through fourth-grade school,

every class begins with "an intention," which can be anything from finishing writing their journal entry to being kind to others or walking with quiet feet inside. Even the littlest kids pick up the intention stone, say their desire for that class and put the stone into a jar of water.

Thus, we begin to see the precepts of a 1960s hippie commune foisted upon innocent 21st-century children.

At Muse, children are free to design and direct their own plays, gather in a kind of tribal counsel to celebrate birthdays and roam the bucolic acreage studying puddle water, collecting bees and rock hunting -- all in the name of education. 

Interestingly, Ms. Cameron initially home-schooled her first child (from an earlier marriage) but then sent her second away from home for kindergarten. This avenue of education proved unacceptable when the child started

coming home from school parties with a green tongue and red dye running down her shirt. But the M&Ms were the final straw. At preschool, Claire learned to count with the candies and then ate them. Amis Cameron, who's been eating organically since she was pregnant with Jasper, was appalled.

Unable to find a school for her brood (an environmentally unconscionable four kids) that followed righteous menus and tolerant fictions, Ms. Cameron teamed with her sister to found Muse, a school that would offer a proper education not only to their own children, but to the rest of the public who understood and appreciated their enlightened version of how the world ought to be.

[T]he women commissioned an early childhood curriculum based on the principles of Reggio Emilia, which advocates a mutual respect between teacher and student and a curriculum accommodating the interests of each child. Healthy living, responsibility for the Earth and others....

Is there any continuity between Avatar and Muse Elementary?

"In the last five years," says Amis Cameron, "Jim went off to create a world -- this huge utopian world of Pandora. And I was creating a smaller world at the same time. There is connectivity between Pandora and Muse in that way -- building a world to your specifications and values."

How so?

"Muse teaches children to be responsible citizens for the 21st century, to celebrate diversity and to live with respect for each other and the Earth. 'Avatar' reflects the same philosophy."

There seems to be no need for spirituality beyond "Earthism" -- though, presumably, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and (maybe) Judaism and Christianity will be tolerated for diversity's sake.

Of the forty-five students currently enrolled at Muse, 30%-40% receive financial aid (guess it's hard to make a precise calculation with so many students). The school costs $21,000.00 per year because, besides maintaining charming mud puddles, students go on field trips to learn from experts in "ecology and American Indian tradition" and must also support "an organic garden and a chef who cooks organic lunches and snacks."

Even though Avatar has grossed more than 2.5 billion dollars since its release, the school must look beyond the founder's means to assist needy toddlers in need of educational salvation. Hence, "the staff does a lot of grant writing." (Are these grants solicited from the bankrupt state of California, or the bankrupt U.S. government?)

The foundations and goals of Muse and Avatar are the same:

If you understand from an early age that you belong to a larger global community ... you will have the knowledge and courage to stand up for those who are different than you. You will naturally have an interest in learning wisdom from other cultures.

Because it's obvious that the people of America don't know squat.

Popular media. Academia. One can only assume that the Camerons will soon underwrite climate research while they run for public office on the Union Ticket. Meanwhile, their kids -- and ours -- will troop down this road of good "intentions." I think I'll look for another jar for my kids to use for their "intention stone."
Suzy Amis Cameron, spouse of Avatar director James Cameron, has co-founded a new school, Muse Elementary, in greater Los Angeles. Maureen Harrington of the Los Angeles Times interviewed Ms. Cameron for details concerning the school.

We learn that for students at the pre-K through fourth-grade school,

every class begins with "an intention," which can be anything from finishing writing their journal entry to being kind to others or walking with quiet feet inside. Even the littlest kids pick up the intention stone, say their desire for that class and put the stone into a jar of water.

Thus, we begin to see the precepts of a 1960s hippie commune foisted upon innocent 21st-century children.

At Muse, children are free to design and direct their own plays, gather in a kind of tribal counsel to celebrate birthdays and roam the bucolic acreage studying puddle water, collecting bees and rock hunting -- all in the name of education. 

Interestingly, Ms. Cameron initially home-schooled her first child (from an earlier marriage) but then sent her second away from home for kindergarten. This avenue of education proved unacceptable when the child started

coming home from school parties with a green tongue and red dye running down her shirt. But the M&Ms were the final straw. At preschool, Claire learned to count with the candies and then ate them. Amis Cameron, who's been eating organically since she was pregnant with Jasper, was appalled.

Unable to find a school for her brood (an environmentally unconscionable four kids) that followed righteous menus and tolerant fictions, Ms. Cameron teamed with her sister to found Muse, a school that would offer a proper education not only to their own children, but to the rest of the public who understood and appreciated their enlightened version of how the world ought to be.

[T]he women commissioned an early childhood curriculum based on the principles of Reggio Emilia, which advocates a mutual respect between teacher and student and a curriculum accommodating the interests of each child. Healthy living, responsibility for the Earth and others....

Is there any continuity between Avatar and Muse Elementary?

"In the last five years," says Amis Cameron, "Jim went off to create a world -- this huge utopian world of Pandora. And I was creating a smaller world at the same time. There is connectivity between Pandora and Muse in that way -- building a world to your specifications and values."

How so?

"Muse teaches children to be responsible citizens for the 21st century, to celebrate diversity and to live with respect for each other and the Earth. 'Avatar' reflects the same philosophy."

There seems to be no need for spirituality beyond "Earthism" -- though, presumably, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and (maybe) Judaism and Christianity will be tolerated for diversity's sake.

Of the forty-five students currently enrolled at Muse, 30%-40% receive financial aid (guess it's hard to make a precise calculation with so many students). The school costs $21,000.00 per year because, besides maintaining charming mud puddles, students go on field trips to learn from experts in "ecology and American Indian tradition" and must also support "an organic garden and a chef who cooks organic lunches and snacks."

Even though Avatar has grossed more than 2.5 billion dollars since its release, the school must look beyond the founder's means to assist needy toddlers in need of educational salvation. Hence, "the staff does a lot of grant writing." (Are these grants solicited from the bankrupt state of California, or the bankrupt U.S. government?)

The foundations and goals of Muse and Avatar are the same:

If you understand from an early age that you belong to a larger global community ... you will have the knowledge and courage to stand up for those who are different than you. You will naturally have an interest in learning wisdom from other cultures.

Because it's obvious that the people of America don't know squat.

Popular media. Academia. One can only assume that the Camerons will soon underwrite climate research while they run for public office on the Union Ticket. Meanwhile, their kids -- and ours -- will troop down this road of good "intentions." I think I'll look for another jar for my kids to use for their "intention stone."

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