Where do artistic, imaginative, or inventive ideas come from? For that matter, why does one particular concept spark interest in one person and leave another completely bored?
Curiosity, I believe, provides a root answer to both questions. If a person is inquisitive about the world, they see a plethora of opportunities to ask questions. When they are comfortable inquiring about phenomenon they observe, it automatically and exponentially increases the possibility for learning and engagement. Once engaged, their creative mind is unleashed; they then feel at ease interacting and inventing within that world that they have expressed wonder about.
Creativity comes from the exploration and examination of personal thoughts and ideas based on an understanding and knowledge of the world around us. It is hands on, experimental, and quite often messy. Because, the only way to really learn something, for life, is to just do it.
Think about a child sitting happily in a mud puddle, splashing and playing with a twig and leaf boat. Or, a child standing on a stool in a kitchen peeling and slicing an apple as they help Grandpa make a pie. How about the girl who decides she wants to learn how to weld, and asks to apprentice in a welding shop. Or, the boy who thinks chemical reactions are beyond amazing and sets up his own chemistry lab in the garage. These are experiences that inform all those questions just waiting on the tip of every child's tongue and the ones that will stay with those kids for a lifetime.
Join me in honoring the people, environments, places and spaces, who celebrate curiosity, that fundamental point where all self-directed, student-centered learning begins. Congratulate the person who sat patiently, listened to a child's questions and offered a variety of paths for that student to explore and find the answers, instead of simply providing the solution. Compliment the facility that provides access to tools of all kinds, to all ages. Thank your librarian, local artist, and other professionals in your community who share their talents and knowledge with others.
By showing appreciation for those who understand that fostering curiosity is the building block to producing whole, creative, imaginative, inventive kids, we are in actuality supporting a vibrant, healthy, whole community for those children to grow up in, and they will in turn model those same experiences for the next generation of youth.