By Jeni Wilson
Luckily, Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination are innate. However, these skills and dispositions, so highly regarded in preschools, are often neglected as children grow older.
Teachers often complain about a crowded curriculum and therefore, in practice, the basics get priority. Play and other contexts for developing these skills and dispositions are the poor cousins in curriculum implementation.
The connection of play, Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination to learning cannot be underestimated (Walker, 2005) but sadly it is.
Here’s a list of fundamental beliefs that underpin the development of Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination:
What teachers and caregivers can BELIEVE:
- That children can take responsibility for their own learning and be self-directed
- That children are problem solvers and problem posers
- Independence is important for lifelong learning
- All children can learn
- Success and confidence are linked
- With minimal adult direction, students can learn and become resilient
- Children can set their own learning goals
- Children’s questions should be valued
- Persistence in play/learning is important
- Student voice is advantageous to learning
- Sustained time on task is important
- Having fun and optimism contributes to Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination
“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” Edward de Bono
There are a number of simple things that teachers/caregivers can do to enact what they believe and to enhance Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination.
What teachers and caregivers can DO:
- Emphasise inquiry focussed learning
- Incorporate more play
- Use cooperative groups
- Set challenging learning tasks where risk taking is needed
- Use higher order questions especially those that require ‘out of the box’ responses
- Get children to visualise and imagine
- Demonstrate that Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination are valued
- Provide open ended tasks
- Incorporate more STEM tasks
- Integrate the Arts into regular classroom tasks
- Teach children to be self-aware
- Focus on the whole child
- Be flexible
- Choose tasks that are engaging
- Create an environment that encourages Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Thomas A. Edison
The role of loose parts play
As I was typing this article I was more and more aware that play with loose parts would achieve the characteristics in the lists above. I have seen first hand how curious children are when playing with the Nüdel Kart because of its open ended nature and the unlimited types of play and outcomes that are possible.
It is fitting then to finish this article with some reflections by children about their experiences with the Nüdel Kart. They have recognized for themselves the impact on Creativity, Curiosity and Imagination.
“I loved Nüdel Kart because I was really creative and you could experiment in lots of ways and you could develop your critical thing (sic) skills. I enjoyed all of it!!!!!”
“…it was really fun and I realised I was good at coming up with ideas for what my group could do to make our creations even better.”
“…after Nüdel Kart I found out I’m good at improvising. When I wanted to make a roller coaster but we only had two wheels I suggested to turn it into a lawn mower. It was lightweight and had a things bag for what we mowed. And we made a trampoline.”
“I enjoyed having the challenge of creating something. It was really cool, being able to work as a team and improvising when there’s limited time.”
Hopkins, D. and Craig, W. (n.d.) Curiosity and Powerful learning. McRel International, Australia.
Munro, J. (n.d) Curiouser and Curiouser. McRel International, Australia.
Sewell, C. Wilson, J. Laing, B. and Veerman, M. (2020) Nudel Kart Teachers Manual (2020)
Walker, Kathy. (2005) What’s the hurry? Australian Scholarships Group (np)