Sunday, 16 June 2013

Creative teaching for everyone (and for free)

Picture by Creative Star Learning
Picture by Creative Star Learning
While looking for pens or paint for colouring stones, I have learnt that you can not only paint the stones with complex picture but also use them for storytelling and as a result for teaching. I discovered it thanks to inspirational blog of Juliet Robertson who write about teaching outdoors @Creative Star Learning.

I have also learnt about changing outdoor environment to make it friendlier for children to learn and using mud to discover the world in “10 ideas for mud play”. The latter one includes such things as mud mapping, mud cooking and mud footprints – all on the occasion of International Mud Day (June 29th).

I am still amazed that there are so many creative ideas that can help younger and older children to learn, get to know the world, encourage them to discover things on their own etc. Most of the teachers I met in my life were not bad teachers but they were not brilliant, creative and outstanding either. This is probably why I am so excited about any idea which allows younger and older to learn creativity. Juliet seems to share the feeling as she says “We have to model and nurture creativity as teachers to help children remain creative as they grow older. Creativity allows us to be responsive and adapt to changes and uncertainty in our lives. It is mindset and a value as well as an act. It is about solving problems, taking risks, having time to reflect, acquiring new skills, communicating ideas in many different multi-sensory ways beyond simply the verbal. It's about not being afraid to make mistakes and using these as learning opportunities. As Patrick Geddes said By creating we think, by living we learn.”

Juliet Robertson is also author of the book "Dirty Teaching"
Picture from Creative Start Learning
Juliet’s blog seems to say: teaching is exploration, not stagnation. You do not need to be stacked in the classroom for your whole career (and pupils time at school as well) and repeat the same formulas! You not only can go out but you have to do so. Open your mind, free your thoughts and you will see that it will free children’s minds as well. It will cause them to go out and discover even when they grow older.

Picture from Creative Star Learning

Juliet observed that at the very beginning of her path. “It began in 1987 during as a volunteer in an urban environmental education centre in Philadelphia. Positive outdoor experiences made a big difference to the children in the Puerto Rican neighbourhood. When I was working at an outdoor centre in Canada in 1996 the emphasis was on experiences which could not be replicated back at school.” With her blog she tries to inspire others but also herself. “I like creating ideas or seeing potential and possibility in places and objects. But I also enjoy and get inspiration from other blogs such as Jennifer Kable's Let the Children Play and Tom Hobson's Teacher Tom.”

The most creative idea she has encountered so far? “The concept of nature design principles advocated by David Sobel in his book Childhood and Nature. Basically David suggests that children living in all countries, climates, of all social backgrounds and ages will engage in seven different types of play activities: building dens, befriending animals, fantasy play, small world, hunter gather games, creating trails and maps and making adventures. If you apply this to everything with children outside, they will always like and engage with the activity. The possibilities are endless."


  1. I also like the ost recent post about collages. I've never thought about something like that

  2. Thank you Joanna - you have summarised our "conversation" nicely.