The Creative Genius

People have strange and curious notions about education. Taking into consideration that the children beginning preschool this year would be scheduled to graduate from college in 2026 how is it that we believe we can design specific programs and curricula to educate these people for jobs that we might not even be able to dream about now? Skills we adults learned 15 and more years ago are viewed as archaic. And some of the jobs we trained for don’t even exist anymore. As schools and educators the best we can provide for our future citizens are opportunities to learn how to work together, to be innovative and to approach life and work creatively. A 2010 study done by IBM of 3,000 CEOs revealed that the top skill sought in college graduates is creative thinking. How do we promote that? It comes from setting up learning environments where children can thrive at each his/her own level with the opportunity to explore and to learn experientially in a supportive and rich setting.
When I look at our Stonehouse classrooms I see open ended tools for creativity. In one corner of our room at the new center we have a beautiful woven basket filled with grooved wooden molding varying in length from 2-4 feet. Not all parents would see that as an invitation to children for creativity, but the uses have been endless and as varied as each dawning day and each child. They have been used in engineering elaborate marble runs spanning tables and crossing the room, and sometimes just connecting in a zigzag fashion down 3 levels from one chair to the next. By experimenting with load bearing and placement of supports the same pieces of molding have been used to make sturdy child bearing platforms in the two level dragon kingdom. These moldings have been skiis, swords, crutches, fencing and other things I can’t even remember right now. Not all people see a classroom with these rudimentary props as enriching. The fact that the same children come in every day and engage with these same pieces of molding in such varied ways speaks volumes to the creative genius that each child embodies. Use of the moldings is only limited by the minds of those engineers and dramatic artists who face them each day.
At the beginning of the year we were offered a donation of some outgrown high quality educational toys, one of which was a box of beautiful wooden parquetry blocks with patterns to replicate. The immediate Waldorf response to a designated job for a designated tool is not a warm one, but the children were excited to see the smooth wooden tiles and the challenge ahead of completing the designs and we gladly accepted the gift. By the second day all green triangles had become seamen on cruise ships. The orange tiles were look out guys. Reds did double duty for whatever was needed on the building or ship or whatever was being built at the time. And the next day they were all something different. When I see these things happening in our school I realize what an amazing gift these children are being offered, allowed to spend their days in schools which don’t try to limit the way they think or respond to their surroundings. Offering them the choice each day to play, to interact with peers and others, (working well on teams was another quality companies are looking for in college graduates and which they are finding to be sorely lacking) solving social problems and being joyful human beings is the greatest gift any child could receive.
This educating of children is a team effort between home and school and we enjoy sharing it with you. -Cat, Kindergarten Teacher

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