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  • Writer's pictureReuben Berger

98% of pre-schoolers are creative geniuses

Updated: May 7

Dr. George Land and Dr. Beth Jarman developed a test designed to identify the capacity for divergent thinking and creativity.

Their study revealed that 98% of pre-schoolers classify as creative geniuses but the 'Education' system dumbs us down.

By grade school, only 30% of the children were considered creative geniuses.

By high school, it was only 12%.

They conducted the same test on a group of adults, and the results were STILL trending down. Less than 2% of the adults tested in studies were creative geniuses.

The word 'education' comes from the Latin 'educare' which means 'to uncover'. Unfortunately, our current 'education' system, seems to do the exact opposite ~ covering over a young child's innate creative genius leaving them, by the time they 'graduate', somewhat dazed and confused often simply enrolling in a place of 'higher learning' that seems, for many, to continue this 'dumbing down' trend.

"Around the world, there were no public systems of education, really, before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism." Sir Ken Robinson.

I have recently been contemplating 'whatever happened after Kindergarten?' In nursery and kindergarten we are able to choose what we want to do and with who and then, all of a sudden, in grade one and for the rest of our schooling we are mostly confined to a desk, in a row, not able to talk with our friends we had played with those first few years except perhaps for 10 minutes at recess or during our lunch break. And, we have to listen to mostly boring teachers teaching a curriculum that slowly erodes are ability to think creatively while filling us with mostly irrelevant information and assignments.

Creativity is one of the most in-demand 21st Century skills. We know that in order to keep up with the future of work, we all need to be able to come up with new solutions to new problems, and we can't do that if we don't have creative geniuses leading the charge.

Sir Ken Robinsons's 2007 Ted Talk "Do schools kill creativity" is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time.

He says, "We are educating people out of their creative capacities… I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it."

~ Sir Ken Robinson

I had gone to Teacher's College for a year ~ it was for sure the most boring year of all my University experience. In fact, the best assignment was the one in which the teacher said that we could come up with our own idea of what we wanted to do. I decided to write four short stories ~ that was the first time I had written a short story which led on to writing many more stories; my writing eventually branched out to writing poetry, quotes, longer books, blogs, essays, letters.

"The modern education system was designed to teach future factory workers to be “punctual, docile, and sober” (title of article).

The education system as we know it is only about 200 years old. Before that, formal education was mostly reserved for the elite. But as industrialization changed the way we work, it created the need for universal schooling.

Factory owners required a docile, agreeable workers who would show up on time and do what their managers told them. Sitting in a classroom all day with a teacher was good training for that. Early industrialists were instrumental, then, in creating and promoting universal education. Now that we are moving into a new, post-industrial era, it is worth reflecting on how our education evolved to suit factory work, and if this model still makes sense."

"Factory schools," as they are now called, originated in early 19th-century Prussia. For the first time, education was provided by the state and learning was regimented. Dozens of students at a a time were placed in grades according to their age, and moved through successive grades as they mastered the curriculum. They took an industrialized approach to education: impersonal, efficient and standardized.

~ Allison Shrager from article:

It's almost as though most people need serious rehabilitation after all the years of 'schooling' in our modern system. Rehab to get them back in touch with their creative genius that they likely started off life with naturally.

A great quote that I once heard on this topic is: "Don't let school interfere with your education." Mark Twain

A new initiative born during CoVid is called 'Learning Pods' in which children go from one home to another, each location specializing in an aspect of learning based on the concept that it takes a village to raise a child.

Can see the website for Learning Pods...

The Montessori style of education system seems to enhance a child's natural creativity. The Montessori method develops creativity by providing children with a sensory education of how the world really works. This knowledge lays the foundations for creative functions such as artistic expression, problem solving, and creative solutions.

Here are some ways to nurture creativity in children (and this would likely be helpful for those of any age) from American Heritage Schools blog '11 Ways to Foster Creativity in Children'.

  • Designate a creative space at home

  • Provide ideas that spark creativity

  • Encourage hands-on projects

  • Supply children with a variety of materials and creative tools

  • Choose activities that use all of the senses

  • Allow free time

  • Find a happy medium between being over-involved and not involved at all

  • Encourage your child to develop passions

  • Ask the right questions

Fostering creativity in children requires an environment that encourages the brain to create. Children tend to be naturally creative but these skills don’t develop in a vacuum. Kids need tools that equip them to create, whether it’s through play, objects, or even academic materials.

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