Creativity: A Theme for the New School Year – September 2, 2009

It’s easy to say “It’s great to be back at Beechwood!”. But when you say it, do you really mean it? I know I do, and from what I saw this morning, the first day of school, the teachers, students and parents are sincerely glad to be embarking on another exciting year at this great school.

Each year, before we begin, I try to think of a theme we should focus on as a community. This year, I have asked the staff and the parents to emphasize the value of creativity. In our parent orientations and in our opening staff meetings, we discussed why creativity is important and what we can do to foster it in our children.

Beechwood students are a cut above other students in so many ways: they are responsible, academically capable, respectful, hardworking and kind. We see examples of these desirable behaviors every day. Are our children creative? Of course they are. However, it has been my observation that many of them, particularly as they get older, are do not think as creatively as we would like them to. We need to recognize this and make some adjustments in order that we might see improvement.

“Outside-the-Box” thinking is more than a cool idea, it is an essential skill that our children will need in order to be successful in the future. With change happening so rapidly in our technological society, our current students have no idea what will face them in the future. They will need to be able to adapt to these rapid changes by thinking for themselves and providing unconventional solutions for the new problems they will face.

What can you do to help your child to tap into their creativity and think for themselves?

1. Conversation. When you talk your child, are they encouraged to express their opinion? Are they given an opportunity to provide a possible solution to a problem?

2. Praise. When your child comes up with an interesting observation or original idea be sure to recognize this moment with a pat on the back, a high fi ve or a hug.

3. Opportunity. Be sure to provide opportunity for your children to be creative. Are there art materials available? Musical instruments? Time to dance? To sing? To write a story? To be messy and silly?

4. Encourage Risk Taking. I think that one of the biggest reasons our children may not be as creative as we want them to be, is that they are afraid to be wrong. They will never progress in this area if they are afraid to make a mistake. Teach them that an attempt to do something creative is the fi rst step to producing an original idea of value.

5. Help them find their “element”. All of us can be creative, but we may not know what it is that we are good at. For instance I struggle with drawing but I am comfortable writing songs. This is my creative “element”. Give your child the best chance to find what they are good at by exposing them to as many different forms of creativity as possible. How will they know if they are the next great
dancer if they never get a chance to dance?

We will be recognizing and encouraging creativity here at Beechwood all year long. I hope that you will do the same in your homes. If you want to know more about creativity and why it is important, you can view this presentation from Dr. Ken Robinson, a leading expert on the subject, on your computer.

Thank you for all you do. It’s great to be back at Beechwood! (I mean it.)

-Mr. Laurance