Graham Cooper, Head of Education at SIMS Independent, talks about the importance of developing children’s creative skills and shares some effective techniques from schools for supporting creativity.
Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. And there may well be some truth in this statement.
A global study recently conducted by computer software company Adobe seems to suggest that the benefits of nurturing creativity extend far beyond an individual’s ability to paint, act or play a musical instrument.
According to the 5,000+ individuals who participated in the study, businesses that invest in creativity are more likely to foster innovation (83 percent), have satisfied customers (80 percent) and be financially successful (73 percent).
Children today are the business owners and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, so schools have an important role to play in developing their pupils’ creativity, in all its forms.
And some schools are leading the way.
In one school I know, staff have developed an effective technique for feeding their pupils’ imaginations in discussions.
A question is posed where there is no defined answer. It might be something like ‘What animal is the bravest?’ or the school’s favourite ‘Is Batman a superhero?’. There is no correct or incorrect response, the exercise is solely designed to encourage debate.
This can be a great way to ignite young minds, particularly with those children who are not naturally outgoing. It can give them a platform to explore their thoughts and opinions – and importantly, also teaches children to value the contribution of others.
Parents can employ this technique at home too, as it works just as well when a family is in the car, enjoying a meal out or gathered together on the sofa at home.
Most children are familiar with the concept of earning merits in school for listening or behaving well in class, but a head I spoke to recently has taken this idea to the next level.
His students are rewarded for displaying creative skills, such as being inquisitive, collaborative and imaginative, both inside and outside lessons. This particular school shares the merits with parents online so they can congratulate their children for their creativity at home. It really encourages them to apply these skills in everything they do.
Some schools offer their students the option to download an app on to their mobile phone or tablet, which allows them to see their merit points as they accumulate. This can help to create a healthy environment in which children are encouraged to aim for their personal best or compete with their peers to achieve the most rewards for creative thinking each week.
Building blocks for achievement
Inspiration, imagination and innovation have always been central to school life and there is much that can be done to ensure these skills are nurtured and valued.
If you’re interested in finding out how technology can help your school deliver a rounded education, click here.
Graham is Head of Education at SIMS Independent, suppliers of the management information system used by 670 schools in 49 countries to drive education excellence.