Friday, November 9, 2007

Creativity 101: Don't go to school for it

Today Rob and I had our first parent-teacher conference of Will’s fledgling school career at Wynnton Preschool, where Will has been enjoying himself so completely of late that I’ve nearly been having to drag him from the classroom come pick-up time. Today his teacher (who he loves deeply) gave us the run-down on how Will is doing using a checklist that included everything from letter recognition and articulation to fine- and gross-motor skills. Then she mentioned that lately all of the children in the class have been enjoying pretending that they are dogs. How wonderful, I thought to myself. Will and his 3-year-old peers, without the teacher’s direction but also with her tacit support for their fantasies, have created for themselves a community of dogs. (Last night at home Will decided to be a dog at clean-up time and he worked fairly efficiently as he navigated the house on hands and knees, occasionally picking up objects with his teeth.)

I’m already dreading the day when the teachers start telling Will not to be a dog. And start telling him, instead, precisely what it is he must memorize for the upcoming test. Last night I stumbled upon this talk on creativity (and whether schools kill it) by Sir Ken Robinson – on the recommendation of this creative mom blogger from Maine. It’s a 20-minute listen, but it’s interlaced with plenty of humor, and Robinson makes an important point about the disservice we do to children when we over-compartmentalize knowledge and focus on one side of their brains while neglecting the rest of their minds and bodies -- until finally we’ve sucked all of the creative juices out of them, or labeled them ADHD when their bodies refused to submit to the drill. Take a listen. It’ll make you want to get up and dance.

No comments: