It is almost universally recognised that in order to succeed in the 21st century, today’s students need to learn more than the ‘Three R’s’ that have traditionally been viewed as the cornerstone of an effective education. Whilst the ‘Three R’s are still considered to be vitally important and continue to be learned at school, students are also learning a range of skills that are not specifically curriculum based.
The term ‘21st century skills’ is used often in education, and refers to a range of competencies that today’s students need to develop, in order for them to contribute productively to the 21st century workplace. These ‘21st century skills’ include the ‘Four C’s’; Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Collaboration. Teachers and schools create opportunities for students to develop the ‘Four C’s’ in a range of ways.
Whilst at Optimise Learning we understand that each of the ‘Four C’s’ are extremely important competencies for all students to develop, the competency of Creativity is the focus of this month’s Blog Post.
Creative thinking and creativity provide young students with the opportunity to express themselves through their ideas and inventions. Creative experiences can also help children to express and cope with their feelings. Recent research has revealed that engaging with activities that involve creative thinking can foster healthy mental development in children. Creative thinking allows children to experiment with their ideas, encourages them to explore and think in new ways and challenges them to find solutions to problems.
As a classroom teacher, I have always been committed to finding ways to ‘infuse’ opportunities for students to think creatively throughout the school day. I enjoy encouraging and challenging students to think ‘outside the box’ and to explore their ideas. I believe these skills are as important to the development of a child, as the core curriculum areas are.
I have had the good fortune to teach many inspiring young students, including Issy and Olivia whose ‘Dream Puff’s’ are featured in this month’s blog post. Imagine my delight and excitement when I stumbled upon their website recently at https://mydreampuff.com/ After searching and scrolling through each page, I contacted their mum, and asked ( well-I pleaded really 🙂 ) if I could please, please feature Issy and Olivia’s ‘Dream Puffs’ in our next blog post. Fortunately permission was granted, which is why I am able to share the inspirational story behind ‘My Dream Puff’, as well as the excellent example of young people thinking creatively, and collaboratively.
Creative Thinking Sisters, Issy and Olivia
Whilst both Issy and Olivia are excellent students and delightful young ladies, as their class teacher I recall feeling in awe of their ability to think in creative ways, and pose a myriad of solutions for everyday issues. Olivia particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to share her ideas, which were always inspiring and testament to her ability to think creatively and critically.
When Issy was just 6 years old, she came up with the concept of ‘My Dream Puff’ as a way of helping her to drift off to sleep. Since then Issy and Olivia have invented and developed a range of Dream Puffs to give to their friends. Now an online store has been developed to enable children from everywhere to purchase their own Dream Puff to help them imagine their sleep time story, relax and drift off to sleep. Issy and Olivia have many other ideas as well, so watch this space.
I feel so privileged to share Issy and Olivia’s special journey with you. Their journey is an authentic example of the ‘Four C’s’; collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking and communication, the 21st century skills today’s students need to develop. More than that though, it is an example of what two innovative young people are capable of achieving, when their ideas and creativity are nurtured. As Issy says, “Dreams really can come true”!