Creativity and Kindergarten – Lessons for Lifelong Learning

June 7, 2009

Kindergarten used to be about play and stories and friends and sharing. More recently, it is about doing worksheets and preparing to take tests – i.e. it is becoming more like school. Maybe this is bad.

Why can’t school be more like Kindergarten instead? Of course the next question I would like to pose, is why can’t adult work be more like Kindergarten, and involve lifelong learning and more games, play and stories?  One step at a time though.

Even the US Military states that they require innovation and creativity – “We seek to foster a culture of innovation.” National Defense Strategy, March 2005 – but yet, they continue to acquire/purchase standard, run-of-the-mill training and education products, which perpetuate this system of  regimented, standardized, one-size-fits-all process.

Kindergarten students playfully create stories, develop and refine their their abilities to think creatively and work collaboratively, precisely the abilities that most adults need to succeed and achieve satisfaction in their careers in the 21st Century – so what’s the problem?  Why can’t adult learnng follow the known, and easily followed prescription that Kindergarten teachers follow:

Spiral learning process where students imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with said creations, share their ideas and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences — all of which leads them to imagine new ideas, processes and projects. This is ideal for the fast-paced society we live in today we faster and better solutions are required just to keep pace, and firms are pressed by Market Conditions for better and cheaper and faster solutions daily. Maybe we could follow the “prototyping” cycle which ourbest  Kindergartens are using!

Simply put, if we could adapt this learning process, and utilize different types of tools, media and materials, many adults could become lifelong learners, and many organizations would benefit from the tremendous increase of productivity as a result of the increased utilization of creativity and imagination.  I wonder if any organization, say with 2.5 million active members with a clearly defined mission across multiple complex Areas of Operation could ever benefit from this type of Transformational Training and Education – 21 Century Tactics, Techniques and Procedures?

Sources used: Edutopia, June/July 2009, Page 10, “Kindergarten for Life: Let’s keep teaching creativity throughout school and adulthood” by Mitchel Resnick, Director of MIT’s Media Lab. What you thought, I made all this up? This is grounded research 🙂