Today I'm spending the day reading, something that I love to do. I'm reading Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. She includes the above quote in her book.
Of course, this quote triggered my reflections about this past week...and what the kids did.
I put out cards with letters, rocks, and "gems" - the idea to line the letters with the rocks and gems.
I put out play dough for kids to do what kids do with play dough.
Since these two things were on tables near each other, I mentioned to Mrs. Cindy that some of the rocks and gems may migrate to the play dough table...and that would be fine. Well, here's what happened.
The kids were exercising great creativity - disassembling elements and recombining them. They were building on each other's ideas. They were creating, deconstructing, re-creating, breaking apart, putting together.
This kind of activity will be important for the rest of their lives. Whatever job or task they are doing, these kids will need to see things in a different light, take apart what they know and recombine it into new ways, pull from disparate locations to create understanding or new ideas.
Then I realized that the essence of creativity isn't the ability to do this - it's the freedom to do this. Kids (and teenagers and adults) must be allowed to disassemble and recombine elements. As a teacher, I must allow the kids to take the gems to the play dough...to use a doll with the blocks...to paint with a plastic hammer. Now, I know there are times these recombining ideas may not work (for a variety of reasons). But, as a teacher, I must be willing to say yes whenever I can.
Give the freedom...nurture the ability...encourage creativity.