Excerpts from Why We Need the Arts; Innovating a Philosophy of Creativity
Introducing educational methodologies not based on play forces children to use disharmonious foreign structures. Children have an instinctive self-designed learning system. It is not wise nor useful to force children into unknown and alien “training” frameworks. Especially when these systems are not related to play, imagination, or creativity. A major mistake of educational academics and curriculum experts is thinking they need to teach children how to Learn. The pedagogical pundits are not the virtuosos of Learning, children are.
Children need play and a variety of artistic mediums to have a safe space to feel frustration. Frustration is essential to the Creative Process. All artists experience and feel frustration. Frustration pushes, motivates, alters directions, stops us, moves us, ends projects and starts them. From our frustration come new ideas. Many epiphanies are preceded by frustration! Frustration can at times mean you are on the right track. Frustration can sometimes mean you are very close to breaking through whatever may be holding you back.
Clearly reading, writing, and math are important, but the overemphasis on these subjects to the exclusion of the Arts is harmful to our children. Since Play and Creativity are such quintessential fibers in the tapestry of our Being, we can not afford to discard this fundamental cloth. Replacing play, imagination, and creativity with the synthetic and artificial styles of “polyester instruction” is detrimental and dangerous. Just like polyester clothing, these faux educational fashions might seem modern and advanced, yet, they are still artificial substitutions for exploring authentic creativity. This kind of education may be stylish but it is not enduring, it may be popular but the trends change in six months, it might be flashy but it is soon forgotten. True learning is not some spiffy or snazzy outfit made from popular artificial strands. True Learning is an organic bolt of raw Creative Process!
This “art” space demands equal relationship with our feelings and thoughts. A space in which children can try on different possibilities. A place, ideally, designed to express emotions and explore deep and important meanings and relationship styles. This can be and should be a uniquely safe environment, where students understand that everyone has a right to their individual feelings and these feelings can be expressed in myriad and original ways through the Arts.
Nobody has to “teach” us how to Play, use our Imaginations, or be Creative. We are born knowing how to engage the world through imagination. I am advocating that educators integrate these natural and readily available virtuosities that children radiate into the structures of their daily teaching practices. To discard these threads and fabrics that children have been inside of since they were babies is a travesty and harmful on many levels. It is through their unique styles of personalized creativity, imagination, and play, that each child has Learned to Learn.
Creativity and Play are not ordinary threads in the tapestry of our Learning, these are Golden Threads. Threads not only of Beauty but of Strength. Threads that tie us to our earliest memories of our family and world. We tether ourselves Creative thread by Creative thread to our families and environment with playful cats cradles. We create the cloth of our lives through these organic structures. Society and humanity cannot discard this original brilliant one-of-a-kind textile of our Learning for the sake of a standardized educational uniform.
Babies Play the world into existence. One playful motion, one playful discovery, one playful coincidence after another. Within each moment of Play, babies are Learning. All children, when given an unhindered environment, explore the world through radical, spontaneous, free play. Since the qualities of play, imagination, and creativity are so intertwined it follows that each has a direct connection with learning. Play, imagination, creativity, and learning are intrinsically natural to children when uninterrupted by adults.
Because We’re Creative. Let’s Stay Creative.