Consequences of reduced Creativity time!

stressI have been thinking a lot about the education system and the emphasis these days on academia. Reduced budgets and resources have seen the opportunity for creative arts declining, hindering young people from developing their creative imagination. Additional homework for pupils, paperwork for teachers, lack of resources and time constraints make for impossible conditions and stress for teachers and pupils alike.

An interesting and thought provoking article in The Guardian discusses the problem of teachers leaving the profession due to stress and highlights that all is clearly not well. How are teachers and consequently our young people to find their wings and fly under these conditions?

imagination is moreMy personal research into creativity has shown again and again the importance of maintaining and using our creative imagination. It helps with problem solving in our everyday lives and in business. If children are deprived of the necessary time to develop their imagination and ability to think for themselves, (instead of learning to tick boxes to satisfy government statistics), where will that leave society and business in another 20, 30 or 40 years when this generation of young people are adults? The future of this world is in the hands of our children, and if we do not help them think for themselves, and use their imagination in fun, creative ways then we are not helping them, or future generations. How can they teach their children something they don’t know themselves?

tablesMany young people are faced with ever increasing pressure to jump through academic hoops, even as young as 5 or 6 years old. They are put into groups according to their perceived ability at this young age, and so their path for school life seems set. No matter how you sugar coat it, ie. the red table, the green table, the blue table etc, kids know if they are on the ‘dunce’ or ‘A*’ table! They are not stupid, no matter what score their SATs tests dictate. In my opinion this BBC News article highlights potential problems caused by pupils compounding lack of self belief.

Your mind is a gardenAnd so the tiny seeds are sown in the mind at 5 years of age. The subconscious mind does not care what seeds you plant, just as the soil does not care whether you plant deadly nightshade or a rose. But if you plant deadly nightshade you will never get a rose, and vice versa. Those beautiful, creative little minds are vulnerable and no child should ever be made to feel inferior, stupid or pressured to achieve.

The next twelve or thirteen years of a child’s school experience is potentially either one of growing lack of self belief, or mounting pressure to achieve higher and higher levels so schools and governments can proclaim how well they are doing. Within my own immediate and extended family I have seen the devastation of both ends of the education spectrum, and also as a peripatetic woodwind tutor entering the school environments for 17+ years, I have witnessed first hand, pupils as young as 7, and as old as 18 breakdown in tears due to the pressure they feel under to perform.

How-to-Help-Your-Child-to-Love-LearningChildren love learning, but they need a balance between academia and creativity to engage the whole brain and be able to process and absorb information. Iphones, xboxes, computers and the vast array of wonderful technology that our young people have today is amazing, opening up a whole new world for all of us and they all have their place. But I believe nothing can replace the benefits of good old fashioned hands-on creativity. It allows the mind to relax, no matter what age you are. It encourages concentration, focus and self belief in ways that academia can not. The feeling of satisfaction that comes from making something yourself as distinct from pushing buttons, is enormous and vital. Exploration and ‘play time’ sets the mind free of constraints, to dream and create. If top Fortune 500 companies are employing the services of Creative Consultants to help boost their staff performance and business then it must be because something is missing. Their ability to be innovative and creative needs help.

20140616_150948If you have a child between 13 and 18 years who may benefit from a creativity course, then Gifted Life my be just what they need. It’s a time to relax, have fun and explore their creative side, see things with fresh perspective as they create beautiful projects from ‘perceived’ trash, explore their own ideas through group discussion and use fun thinking games that challenge their conceptual thinking.

Please feel free to drop me an email or call 07813 612955 to discuss if Gifted Life is right for you and your child.

Brilliant 3 min talk by Sir Ken Robinson on the necessity of creativity in education.