When I was a child I wanted to be magic. Why? I think, essentially, because children often feel powerless. A child has to put up with constant tellings-off and bossing-about – where they go, what they eat, when they go to bed. All are decided by parents, relatives and teachers who are larger, more powerful (and hopefully wiser, but not always) than they are. Author-illustrator, Cressida Cowell writes in Teachwire.
Children are inherently curious, questioning and capable of extraordinarily original pathways of thinking. And this ability to think creatively is something that we sometimes lose as we get older.
For me, magic is synonymous with childhood, creativity and originality. And we need that magic; we need the people of the future to be, if anything, more creative than they have been in the past. The world faces a lot of problems, and to quote Einstein, ‘No problem can be solved with the same consciousness that created it’.
Creativity is vital, both for children personally – the positive impact on mental health, for example, has been proven – and for us as a society. The creative industries made £92 billion a year for the UK in 2017; we literally cannot afford to ignore what creative talent gives us.
I’ve been an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust for over a decade, and I know that the quest to get kids reading and creating is a complicated, wonderful, frustrating, heartbreaking, fascinating and worthwhile task.
If we want our country, our children, to thrive, the joy of reading and creative thinking must be at the heart of education, home life and the decisions we make at every level, from the national and political to the everyday and personal.
This is why, with the National Literacy Trust, I have launched Free Writing Friday, an initiative which is purposely design not to be time-consuming or complicated. The idea is this: children should have a notebook to draw and write in just for the fun of it and be given time to use it. I’m suggesting 15 minutes every Friday.
Teachers aren’t allowed to correct this notebook – both for the kid’s sake and the teacher’s. I’m not suggesting more marking. Spelling, grammar or neatness do not matter; it’s a place for ideas and fun.
Read more about Free Writing Friday Boost kids’ creativity with Cressida Cowell and Free Writing Fridays
Does your school take part already? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link
We now have a Facebook page - pls click to like!