We foster creativity when we:
- Create a culture of mindfulness in the classroom
- Provide a consistent structure and "modus operandi" for open-ended innovation
- Develop a culture of dialogue
- Provide time to explore student's theories through conversation or graphic representations
- Develop a culture of safe and respectful collaboration
- Provide a classroom where all members of the class feel safe physically, emotionally and academically
When I learned about mindfulness, I realized that this was the perfect addition to my "tool belt". Not only does a mindfulness practice strengthen the ability to attend, it also develops compassion and calm.
Our school days begin with mindful breathing and we take many brain breaks through out the day. Prior to a challenging lesson, we sit quietly and work on focusing our attention to the breath. Anxiety is reduced and my students are better able to focus at the task at hand. Mindfulness is introduced in many daily activities such as walking, writing and eating. My students feel safe in our classroom and with each other.
Design thinking is part of our first grade curriculum. We create prototypes for our "students in the spotlight" and other members of our community. Students learn about "failing forward" and multiple iterations before making a final prototype.
In her Huffington Post article of July 25, 2014, Bianca Rothschild describes how mindful meditation boosts creativity and innovation. She says that "the side effects of mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve emotional intelligence, increase resilience, stimulate the neocortex and reduce the reactivity of the reptilian brain. She also states that these side effects assist in getting ideas flowing directly to the neocortex, which is the best creative thinking brain.