Have you ever looked at clouds and tried to imagine shapes and scenes in them? I know I have, and I love it. I remember a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson where he explained that little children’s creativity is often squelched. Blame school, blame pragmatism, or whatever you will, but the creative imagination of a child seems to dissipate as they grow. Not always, but it does happen. Why is it that only artists and designers get to be creatively imaginative these days?
Ruth Oosterman is an artist who has collaborated with her two-year old daughter to create imaginative watercolor paintings. See some examples of their work here. Her daughter creates the base, and Ruth fills in the gaps. Why can’t education be more like this? Students create a base of passion, interest, and drive, and teachers help fill in the gaps with their own knowledge and expertise. I don’t think Ruth stopped her daughter part way through and said, “No, put this line here so that it will create a construct for this.” Yikes!
We need to collaborate with learners. We need to allow them to create and imagine. Imagine what we — and they — could do with their work and ideas at that point! I love art, and I’m glad to see someone who’s allowing creativity to flourish. Maybe more importantly, I’m glad that Ruth is setting a creative example for her daughter…and the rest of us.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I see some clouds….