I would like to shift our school's conversation about creativity from one that is connected solely to the artistic domain, to one that is nuanced, and is better defined by Ken Robinson who writes that creativity is "the process of having original ideas that have value." If education serves as the foundation for improving one's life and our world, as I would say it does, then having original ideas that have value is at the core of what schools should endeavor to do. Stating the challenge is one thing; meeting it is a complicated dance. At once, here at Blue School, we provide a great deal of room for wonder, curiosity, and exploration. We open up time and space, provide materials with which to explore, and we follow children's interests and questions. We catch moments of creativity and support children to build them out into innovative projects and throughlines in all domains from scientific inquiry to social interactions to creative writing. At the same time, we equip them with tools to read, write and use numbers and facts, with understandings about the histories and ideas in our world. We teach them to communicate in a myriad of ways, try on different lenses, and show them examples of the best thinkers, question-askers, and explorers. We do this so that they can master specific ideas and domains and so that they are ready to pursue an original idea when it arises.
We want to know more about how this looks in our classrooms now, as well as what strategies and routines we can and do use to further the having of original ideas. This year, some of our teachers will be pursuing this question through an action research project with the support of New York University and our Director of Research and Documentation, Lindsey Russo. We are looking forward to thinking more specifically about how our approaches here at Blue School nurture the conditions for creative and innovative thought. I look forward to sharing our thoughts, new questions and learnings with you.