Outside the Lines

I once read this quote that has since stuck with me during my educational career:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  
When my daughter was four years old, her teachers were concerned that she would not color inside the lines.  All the other children were fish, swimming in a perfectly outlined stream while my daughter was the fish climbing a tree.  Today, she is an exceptional artist in her own unique way.

Forcing children to create in ways that adults find acceptable can stifle creativity as well as negatively impacting self esteem. James Moran, III in his article Creativity in Young Children states:  “For young children, the focus of creativity should remain on process: the generation of ideas. Adult acceptance of multiple ideas in a non-evaluative atmosphere will help children generate more ideas or move to the next stage of self-evaluation.” As adults, it is very important that we celebrate the creative endeavors of our children whether they mirror adult representations or not.

The elements of creativity abound in the FasTracKids classroom.  Children are encouraged to conjure up solutions to difficult problems, as well as create visual representations of concepts covered in lessons.  The more emphasis educators put on individual creativity, the more likely children will find their own way to be a genius.

–    Dee McDonald, Vice President of Curriculum and Program Development


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