Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm offers birth – 1st grade education based on the Waldorf philosophy on a working farm in Essex, NY. Each week our Office Administrator, Kathleen Morse, writes on the Lakeside school and community and education based on the Waldorf philosophy through her perspective from the office window.
View from the Office Window: Creativity in Education
The view from my office starts through the window of my computer this week. I came in on Thursday to a message from a parent forwarding a link to an article. The article is titled As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity. The basis of the article is that from a business perspective, America can not out build, or out produce other countries; that we’re not the smartest, wealthiest or healthiest country but what America and Americans do have is ingenuity, the capacity to innovate – to create something from nothing. The article goes on to share scary statistics in the sharp decline in this capacity of American’s after the implementation of the Sputnik error education reforms. The article defines creativity as the capacity to take an object or idea and develop new ways of using the object or idea or to see new patterns and connections. In order to foster the capacity for creativity, the author says the following.
“Creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today. In the real world few questions have one right answer, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to success in the real world…
We are also, as I documented in a previous essay, increasingly depriving children of free time outside of school to play, explore, be bored, overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure—that is, to do all that they must do in order to develop their full creative potential.”
That brought me back to a view into the classrooms here at Lakeside. By classroom today, I mean the play-yard. This is one big classroom for all the children who come to school here. As I looked out the window I saw the Kindergarteners in the sand box digging with the shovels that they had been using while working with Robin to spread wood chips to form a new path through the garden. I could see some children with sticks. Over the course of these past three weeks I have seen children use these sticks and wood chips as digging devices, spreading devices, cell phones, writing implements, pads of paper, swords, hats, hair, shields, walking sticks, computers, food for the pretend animals, baby bottle, food for there friends, telephone, doors, paddles for canoes and surfboards …
A simple stick. Something found in everyone’s yard in the North Country. An object that some adults spend tireless hours trying to remove. This simple object in the hands of a child opens a whole world of possibilities. If fostered in childhood, this innate capacity to innovate or use the same object in many different ways, develops to be the greatest resource that this country has and what is needed for the future development of humanity. Lakeside offers abundant possibilities for children to engage in open ended play, thus fostering the capacities that will serve them their whole life.
The article as a whole is interesting. It can be found HERE.