I have been fortunate over the years to spend a lot of time in creative environments. As the director of the Charles River Creative Arts Program in Dover MA, Urban Improv in Boston and Summer Arts at The Cambridge School of Weston, I have observed the profound impact a creative environment can have on a young person.
While many schools emphasize testing and grades, what is often lost is the power of the imagination and the opportunity to explore the creative process. Competition, academic expectations and social pressures in a school can have a negative affect on the confidence of a child while a creative environment can be a transformative, positive, uplifting experience.
In a creative environment walls come down, doors open and new journeys can begin. There are fewer restrictions, less judgment and plenty of encouragement, support and collaborative learning. As a result students open up, take risks and explore new areas of interest. They can be molding clay, choreographing a dance, performing a song, improvising a skit, designing clothes, writing a poem, editing a film or improvising a scene. Whatever it is, they are actively engaged and thrilled to be doing something they love to do.
We all know there are certain skills that are essential to learning (reading, writing, arithmetic) however the imagination and creativity are often neglected. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important then knowledge” and in today’s fast paced, changing world it is the imagination and creativity that are going to help one adjust, adapt and come up with strategies to new challenges.
In June we are kicking off our 7th season at Summer Arts and I am already looking forward to seeing students enthusiastically head from one class to the next, connect with their teachers and express themselves through a wide range of arts and sports classes. Their passion, curiosity and commitment to the creative process can be transformative and many of these rich experiences will stay with them for a lifetime.