While universities are focussed on widely-published research in PISA tables, and schools focus on league tables and OFSTED results, business and technology have moved on. Technology is making many professions obsolete in the same way that industrialisation replaced people with machines. Business futurists and analysts are virtually counting down the days until bookkeepers, accountants and bank managers are outdated, replaced by high capacity machines – already, we have seen bank tellers become ATMs, and more and more shop tellers are automated, too. In time, they predict, the one thing that makes humanity unique is the one thing that will make us employable – CREATIVITY.
Already we hear in the news that top companies and even universities have strange and different ways of assessing new joiners based on the creativity that they show in different scenarios. The ability to use new and unusual ways to combine old information has been recognised as the way forward in virtually every market, from farming to IT companies and solving the world's biggest problems. The way these skills are developed and maintained begin well before that first school day, whether it is at 4, 5, 7 or 8 years old!
Creativity, is has been found, is huge in babies and preschoolers – in fact, it is greater before we start school, but as we continue through the (usually western) education system, has worryingly been found to more and more gradually reduce. However, our recently-invented, non-invasive scanning ways to see what is happening inside the brain (while people are still alive and conscious!) has given us insight, not only into mental illness, but also into these tiny creatures that we try to train as early as possible. Far from the blank tablet that history taught us, babies, it turns out, are potentially even more sophisticated than adults! Able to adapt to any parental situation, language, and culture, their versatility changes only as a result of their "training" or upbringing. The more they do one thing, the less they are able to do another. This is certainly true in language – the more we use spoken language, the less we read body language, for example. So, how do we maintain the natural impulse of creativity, the ability small children have to think of a million things to do with a paper clip, compared to the 20 that adults can think of? By providing opportunities to create!
Creative subjects like art, music, singing, dancing, making, inventing, acting, story-telling … all rely on the ability to use old knowledge in a new way. "Improvisation" – or making something up on the spot, is or should be the goal of every single teacher. Of every subject. And unlike previous educational ideas and philosophies of "self-discovery", this type of teaching involves sharing slightly more advanced skills and once they are mastered, allowing children to use them in their own individual ways, in ways that interest them personally. This final step is what is often missing in classrooms all over the world, but most often in authoritarian situations. Yet this is the step that allows opportunities for creativity, the step that authoritarian states and schools are desperate for to match creativity with the measurable, manual skill that they have taught, and ironically, the step that so many people, governments, town councils, funding agencies and even parents overlook and ignore in favour of the "measurable manual skills".
This consortium begins to address this dire oversight by offering training to those who are responsible for the youngest, the most creative, the most advanced citizens – preschoolers. Each coming from a background of teaching these skills privately to groups of parents, individual nurseries, even individual children, the founders of Th!nk Cre8tive welcome numeracy and literacy in the development of the essential skill of creativity. Using music, movement, drama and craft, we are passionate about play, early potential and empowering children to become successful in an unknown future.
Initially available in selected national locations, we will be holding an annual conference in the next few months, imparting the knowledge, skills, and "tricks" of our trade, having personally seen children develop in tremendous ways, in music, leadership, academic, social – and we can't wait to share it with you!
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