In 2006, lifelong educator Rebecca Amis set out to create a small school with big ideals. So, in partnership with her sister and brother-in-law, Suzy Amis Cameron and renowned director James Cameron, she helped found MUSE School in Calabasas, California. Now, almost 15 years and over 200 students later, she’s taking those ideals worldwide with MUSE Global –– a franchise offering the MUSE early education model to families everywhere.
The MUSE approach not only helps children develop the social skills, emotional intelligence, and tenacity to become well-rounded individuals, but also instills in them a deep respect for the environment and habits for sustainable living. MUSE students become sustainability natives, learning environmental best practices along with their ABCs.
Rebecca’s passion for helping children is equal only to her passion for protecting the planet. With advanced degrees in psychology and child and family studies, she was inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to design an education model that puts children first through child-centered, passion-based learning.
That inspiration became a reality in 2006, but not without hurdles. Rebecca equated the process to building an airplane that was already in the air.
“We had a dream to educate young people holistically, respectfully and sustainably, and we made that dream a reality,” she said. “As the children at MUSE School learned, so did we. But soon, we had a method and curriculum that allowed us to serve children and families in the most efficacious way.”
Through passion-based learning, children at MUSE identify areas of interest, which are integrated into cross-disciplinary lessons and engaging activities that will further ignite the child’s interests, and help to develop new ones. At the same time, children are learning to connect with others and solve problems with empathy through the MUSE Process Communication Model.
Under Rebecca’s leadership, MUSE School adopted a completely plant-based menu for student and staff lunches, promoting one plant-based meal per day for student health and the planet.
“MUSE students eat organic, nutritious, and plant-based meals every day, and learn how doing so has an immensely positive impact on the planet,” she said. “When a person eats one plant-based meal per day for a year, they conserve the equivalent of 9,490 miles of fuel, 9,000 showers, and 1,460 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. And MUSE students carry that message home to their families and friends.”
MUSE Global is opening its first franchise school in Wabash, Indiana, with the intent of expanding the MUSE model to more locations including San Francisco, Orlando, Denver, and even Dubai and Singapore. But Rebecca and the MUSE School team are proud to call Southern California home.
At the end of the day, MUSE is built on family. In addition to partnering with James and Suzy, Rebecca’s husband Jeff King is head of school for the Calabasas locations, as well as CEO for MUSE Global. Together, this family team is making sure that educators with a passion for sustainability don’t have to reinvent the wheel to start a new school.
“Today’s children are the Earth’s last great hope,” Rebecca said. “If our planet and way of life is to continue, it is up to them to make lasting, global change. Our MUSE students will carry the habits they learn with us into adulthood, living sustainably as an example for others, and planting the seeds of change for a better future.”
MUSE Global franchises are available now, including franchises in Southern California. For more information, visit www.museglobal.org.