Creativity; our greatest asset and our most discredited...
A quote from Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and contributing editor for Scientific American Mind: “When children are very young, they all express creativity, but by the end of first grade, very few do. This is because of socialization. They learn in school to stay on task and to stop daydreaming and asking silly questions. As a result, the expression of new ideas is largely shut down. We end up leaving creative expression to the misfits – the people who can’t be socialized. It’s a tragedy.”
Quote from my six year old granddaughter yesterday upon returning to school after the Christmas Holidays: (She is halfway through Grade One)
“Nana, my whole classroom was changed! It’s because we’re older now, so now we just have to work, write and sit all day. Just work and write all day!”
“You still get to play and make things, don’t you?”
“No, I think we just work all day now. Because we are older and some of the kids already turned 7.”
I don’t know what’s really going on in her class. She is in an arts-based school. But, it frightens me that this is her perspective. I hope today is different for her. I really don’t want either of these quotes to be true anymore.
Update 2018: I wrote this article in 2014. The granddaughter mentioned does get to be creative in her school, but her perspective as a Grade Oner is valuable for all who spend time with children and for those of you who might wonder, "When did I stop thinking creativity was an innate part of me?"
("EEK!" screamed my Nana brain, imagining this image!")