Friedrich Froebel Gifts.

Can you teach creativity & innovation?

Today I was reading an article about Eva Moskowitz and her New York City Success Academies in the New Yorker Magazine and realized that how we teach children may be all wrong. In her book “The Education of Eva Moskowitz” she espouses her take on how to lift the New York Sate Test scores of under privileged children. Which, if you look at the “statistics” The Success Academies seem to be doing, but at what expense in the long term of the creative and innovative capabilities of the students. Friedrich Froebel invented Kindergarten in 1850’s Germany with the idea of using play as the gateway to teach children. His kindergarten was filled with blocks to construct “imaginary” worlds and “puzzles” to challenge the student’s “conceptual” development. I’m not sure Ms. Moskowitz’s no nonsense anti “day dreaming” approach allows fertile minds to explore, discard and contemplate lots of “silly” creative solutions to problems. I’m convinced that creativity & innovation can be taught and nurtured, but the environments should be playful, supportive, open and …


Friedrich Froebel’s Gift No. 6: Occupation Material for the Kindergarten Gift No. 6 [The Strong – National Museum of Play]

Creativity & innovation can be taught, just as Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel in The Karate Kid, through foundational learning and discipline. Discipline and foundational learning need not be harsh or regimented if they are approached with kindness, thoughtfulness and calm as Mr. Miyagi did. Understanding the basic vocabulary, history, tenets, principles and ideas of a subject helps students understand why they are learning something. The WHY of learning is often over looked and is vital to maintaining a students attention and concentration. The WHY is often the secret to unlocking a creative or innovative idea. So explaining the WHY helps students to embrace their own “why” which leads to the who, what, where, when and how. But NOT necessarily in that order. Everyone has there own set of priorities when seeking a creative thought. So maybe, just maybe allowing children the freedom to “day dream” might help them unlock that creative thought that makes everyone smile.


Karate Kid, 1984.

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Bruce Hannah 2017©