The theme of March at Inly School seems to be creativity and innovation. In early March, we were delighted to unveil our new Strategic Plan at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Antico Commons (the plan is available on our website or by clicking here). In front of a group of Inly families, faculty members, and friends, our three guest speakers spoke about the different components of the plan, “InlyNext.” The timing of the unveiling was fitting—since the Antico Commons is the newest learning space on campus and was designed with “InlyNext” in mind.
As many of you know, Montessori education is extraordinary for fostering creativity and innovation. It provides structure that leads to freedom, prompts open-ended thinking and questioning, and presents opportunities to explore the iterative process. I’m thrilled that the Antico Commons is going to help us blaze the trail as we move forward in fostering this kind of creative work at our school.
In another creative endeavor in late March, our K–8 students participated in a Creativity Cans project in the Meehan Family Artsbarn. Seated in mixed groups on the floor, our students received what I like to refer to as the “same point of departure.” Each student was given their own personal Creativity Can and asked to design a creature with the contents found within. Over the course of an hour, the students designed their creatures. Some students knew what their creatures would look like right away, while others needed time to try a few different things before committing. It was an amazing process to witness. (To see a video of the event, click here.)
While every Creativity Can contained the same materials—glue, colorful popsicle sticks, string, craft paper, pipe cleaners, wheels, etc.—no two creatures ended up looking alike. As we move forward, the creatures will be used for Writer’s Workshop and other writing prompts for the spring term. These writing assignments will vary in sophistication based on level. The extra materials have also been used by Annemarie Whilton, our Art Teacher, to create collaborative creatures with the Children’s House Students. The Lower Elementary students are also working with Ellyn Einhorn, our school Naturalist and Science teacher, to create outdoor habitats for each creature around campus.
The Creativity Cans Project was generously funded by Faber-Castell and the inventors of The Creativity Cans. We were fortunate to have the CEO of Faber-Castell, Jamie Gallagher, visit Inly School this week to hear more about how we approached the Creativity Cans project. Jamie sat down with a small group of teachers and students to hear about our Creativity Cans project. He was deeply impressed and hopes to work with more schools in the future.
“More and more surveys are revealing that creativity scores are going down and the importance of creativity is going up,” Jamie explained, “That delta is very clear—and that’s what we’re trying to go after.”
Creativity and innovation are two growth mindsets that our students will need in this century to be successful. They will need to know how to adapt, how to iterate, how to brainstorm. They will need to understand that their ideas are important and valuable and unique—and therefore, could help solve future world problems that have yet to arise. Having a space for innovation and hosting activities that encourage creativity are two ways that Inly School continues to prepare our students to become global citizens with next-century skills.
In more creativity and innovation news, in the next two weeks, our Middle School students will be attending NuVu. To read more about this cool experience, please see: 8th Grade Students Get Crash Course in Solving Real-World Problems at NuVu.