The Integration of Abilities and Learning About Learning solidified its significance through its wide-ranging and enduring influence. The core beliefs and concepts inspired a generation to incorporate its way of thinking into daily life and career development.

Many people who grew up in the philosoply, whether children or teachers, look back on  fondly and reflect on how it had helped shape their lives.

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In these interview clips, Baylor Children's Theatre and Trinity University alumni Israel Anderson and Johnny Gutierrez explain the impact Jearnine Wagner, Paul Baker, and the philosophy of Integration of Abilities had on their lives.  

These interviews were conducted for an uncoming documentary on Jearnine Wagner, Finding Your Unique Spark.  The film is being directed and produced by Susie Monday and Linda Cuellar.

Envisioned by Jearnine Wagner, the Learning About Learning Foundation was a plan put into action by the core co-founders Cynthia Ridgeway Herbert, Julia Byrns Jarrell, Susie McAtee Monday, and Susan Russell Marcus.

With the closing of LAL in 1986, these women took what they learned from Learning About Learning to begin other projects that contituned the tradition of developing creative potential within individuals.

Cynthia Herbert

While at Learning About Learning, Cynthia Herbert co-directed the lab school with Julia Jarrell. Herbert focused on curriculum development and created multitude of interactive books for children and guidebooks and teaching tools for adults. During the early 1980s she pursued and received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in developmental psychology at the University of Houston, where she focused on the development in metacognition through imaginative play.

After LAL, Herbert followed Wagner to Houston and developed programs with the Houston Independent School District at the request of Superindendent Billy Reagan. The video below shows a segment on one of those programs from a KUHT, Houston's PBS station. 

Later in her career, Herbert served as Director of Education for the Texas Alliance of Education and Arts developing curriculum plans and teacher trainings. Over time Herber began to feel disenchanted with the demands to meet standardized testing requirements. She never felt that one test could capture the true understanding, knowledge, and skills of a child. After years of working with school districts and organizations that had to teach to the tests, she re-entered partnerships with colleagues from the days of LAL.

Julia Jarrell

In addition to facilitating the lab school with Herbert, Julia Jarrell found creative energy through finding ways to inspire listening and communication within families and communities.  Jarrell worked with Marcus and Monday to design kits and activities for children and parents to develop curiosity and listening to each other.  Messages to My World was one such kit.

One of her first programs in the early 1970s, called Future/Past, engaged area fourth graders with the San Antonio missions in long-form investigations.  While the lab school was in operation, students worked on a multiyear ethnographic study of Los Pastores, the Mexican Christmas pagent that recounts the journey of the shepherds to the birthplace of Christ. As part of this study, she and her husband Charles produced a film for Learning About Learning documenting the pageant at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Antonio in 1973.

Following the closure of LAL, Jarrell worked for many years on the LBJ Heartland Network which was created to stregthen support for historic preservation and tourism programming in the region.  

In 2004 Jarrell became a project developer for international programs at Alamo Colleges.  For a little over ten years she created programming that trained international educators on how to use the arts as tools in curriculum development for different kinds of learners. With this, she reunited with Herbert, Monday, and others from LAL to bring these concepts to teachers.

Susie Monday

Monday's philosophy was to give children the tools to understand their own learning styles, nurturing their individual strengths so that each child could grow as a whole.

After LAL’s closure in 1986, Monday remained dedicated to education and the arts. She worked as a writer for both the San Antonio Light and Our Kids Magazine before becoming the Director of Exhibits and Programs at the San Antonio Children's Museum from 1993 until 1998. Today, Monday is a fiber artist and instructor, participating in exhibitions and offering online and in-person workshops that incorporate the Elements of Form.

Susan Marcus

Marcus collaborated on a number of Learning about Learning initiatives, including leading the product line Imagination Works through Kid Concern Inc.

After Learning about Learning closed in 1986, Marcus and the other co-founders continued to build upon the legacy of the program. Marcus went on to work as a museum education consultant, working extensively with the Aldrich Contemporary Arts Museums to develop summer programming called New World Kids which incorporated the Elements of Form into its programming. Later she, Herbert, and Monday wrote a book with and created a nonprofit by the same name to synthesize program.  

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New World Kids

The goal of New World Kids was to take the principles of the Elements of Form into educational environments to help those institutions use their resources to forge new creative learning connections with children, parents, arts educators and curators.

Marcus, Herbert, and Monday all felt it was critical to credit the sources of the foundational philosophy from which the new work had grown: Paul and Kitty Baker and Jearnine Wagner. 

Jarrell utilized New World Kids for the teaching program of international teachers with Alamo Colleges. They translated their materials into Spanish and contributed materials for Spanish speaking educators from underserved communities across Latin America.

The women used the Elements of Form mindset throughout their careers. Susan Marcus even drew on the Elements of Form when she created the Sensory Alphabet as a set of observational touchpoints for creative growth.

Marcus co-authored this book, The Missing Alphabet, with Susie Monday and Cynthia Herbert. They wrote this book about 30 years after Learning about Learning came to an end, and it illuminates LAL’s legacy. The book shows that each child has resources and infinite creative potential, and that we are all mutually dependent. The core beliefs that Marcus, Monday, and Herbert embraced have not changed since their time with LAL.