Over the past few weeks there has been an amazing series of events here at All Saints’ that demonstrates the importance of a school providing each student with opportunities to find his or her voice. This voice can be expressed in a range of media and settings. Among these events have been the dramatic rendition of the Passion of Christ by a drama elective class, the heartwarming chapel presentation by our Pre-Kindergarten students, the amazing art show that annually dazzles all who experience it, our CrossWorlds event that celebrates the range of cultures and interests in our school family through prose, poetry, technology and food, the course-culminating projects in many grades and academic disciplines, the charming and elaborate spring musical performances by students in grades 1 through 8, and the celebration of the range of community service that lends substance to our commitment to “preparing students to lead fruitful lives and to serve a world in need.” The list is not exhaustive but illustrative of our focus on helping our students articulate their passions and aspirations eloquently and creatively.
This approach is a departure from the one I experienced when I was in school. I did not have the opportunities our children have on a daily basis. In reflecting on my own schooling, I believe that I did not have such opportunity until I was a senior in high school. Creativity has been identified by many educational theorists and leaders as one of the core competencies essential for 21st century learners. At All Saints’, enhancing our students’ creativity is at the core of what we do, and it begins in the earliest stages of education.
Focusing on creativity has required schools and teachers to make a fundamental shift in their approach, and unfortunately many schools have not made that adjustment. In a Newsweek article published last summer entitled “The Creativity Crisis,” the perils of ignoring or even discouraging student creativity and inquisitiveness are eloquently stated:
Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. Why, why, why- sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They didn’t stop asking questions because they lost interest: it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.
At All Saints’ we expose our students to the full range of human experience and inquiry. And we are about more than providing answers; we want to encourage our students to learn how to ask the right questions and create meaning that is authentic and in their own voice.
Until next time…