Few adults are fortunate enough to have maintained the level of imagination that they had as children.
Last year, one of our Professional Development Days was devoted entirely to increasing the levels of creativity at ARS. Creative administrators allow for creative teachers, who, in turn, inspire creative thinking in students. Creative students are the most challenging, and the most fun, to teach.
Every toddler goes through the ‘game’ of asking ‘why’ to every response offered to a question. Adults, and teachers in particular, should reverse the game and engage children in imagining all of the possible answers to a question.
Bruno Bettelheim wrote a wonderful book titled The Uses of Enchantment. Among other things he encourages reading to young children from books without pictures (or not showing the illustrations during an initial reading) allowing children to create their own mental images before seeing another’s interpretation. Once illustrations are introduced, there is a great deal of value in truly beautifully illustrated children’s books, those in which the pictures alone can transport children to wonderful, imaginary places.
Imagination, like so much else in life must be practiced, exercised and cultivated. It is easily squelched and is frequently trodden down by over-zealous adults and commercialization. Understanding that imagining cannot be done for another person, it is our job as adults to merely provide the fuel that triggers the imagination. If too much is revealed, the pleasure of imagining diminished.